Hutchison Whampoa, one of Hong Kong's oldest conglomerates, and Vanda Systems & Communications Holdings have formed aájoint venture company called BEPay.com, which will be looking at e-enabling B2B transaction settlements. Launching in July 2000, BEPay.com will provide a payment portal for Application Service Providers (ASPs), linkingásuppliers,ábuyers and banks on to a single e-commerce platform.
"In the present internet world, payment sites focus mostly on B2C payments, and almost all of them are owned wholly or partly by financial institutions. With a projected annual growth rate of 65%, the B2B e-commerce market is expected to dwaft the B2C market in the comingáfive years. BEPay.com will begin with the development ofáa B2B payment systems to capture the enormous potential of the market," saysáLam Hon-nam, chairman of Vanda.
Crucial to the success of this platform is the participation of a variety of banks, although initially, "BEPay.com willáhave a local focus", says Bridget Chan, senior manager of BEPay.com. "We are looking to have all the local Hong Kong banks on board so that we can provide a choice of banking partners for local B2B merchants on the various ASPs."á
The first payments through the portalácan be made in July, although only funds transfer and PT payments will be the available options. BEPay.com expects to add electronic letters of credit and e-cheque services to its list of options later in the year. Meanwhile, only B2B merchants with Hong Kongábank accounts will be able to utilize the platform, as no cross currency trading paymentsácan be made via theáportal, which somewhat inhibits the scope of the venture.
Hutchison and Vanda will pump in aroundáHK$20 million in the first year of the project.