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Citibank Launches E-Commerce Services In Asia

In Asia, Citibank launched Citibank Commerce, a new business-to-business e-commerce service for corporations.

Citibank Commerce was developed by Citibanks Global Cash and Trade group in the Asia Pacific, in conjunction with Citigroups e-Citi unit and part of a global strategy to provide Citibank e-business solutions to its corporate customers.

"With Citibank Commerce, were providing our corporate customers with the missing link in e-commerce financial settlement and reconciliation that will allow them to take the competitive advantage the Internet enables to the next level," said Suresh Maharaj, Citibank Philippines country corporate officer.

According to Citibank, for a one-time-only installation fee, the bank provides with access to a single interface to manage their range of transaction processes including the ordering the products, monitoring order status, and completing settlement.

Citibank representatives stated that Citibank Commerce customers are automatically given access to more than 1,000 Citibank clearing zones in Asia Pacific alone and Citibank branches in more than 100 countries worldwide.

"The range of charges depending on the work that needs to be done. It can vary from more or less US$25,000," explained Vibhav Panandiker, Citibank Asia Pacific vice president, director e-commerce. "Installing and implementing the system can take around a minimum of eight weeks. Monthly fees shall also be charged depending on the number of transactions happening in the hub per month."

"Citibank Commerce can be easily integrated into a customers existing accounts systems and business processes. This allows them to dramatically reduce the need for order collection and data-entry functions, as well as other non-productive, semi-manual processes traditionally associated with accounts receivables function," explained John Laurens, region head, product management and product development, Global Cash and Trade, Citibank N.A.

The system is EDI-compliant supporting both ANSI and EDIFACT standards. The system runs on the Netscape EC Expert that has a program that functions as a mapping/translator engine.

It supports real-time or batch mode interfaces to system such as SAP R2/R3, Oracle Financials, PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards, MFG Pro, as well as legacy systems.

Order and invoice details are protected by triple DES 56 bit encryption, while each funds transaction takes place within Citibanks existing clearing infrastructure.

The certificate authority being tapped at this stage is the government of Singapore. "Because that is the only one available now," said Sammy Ty, Citibank Philippines vice president, electronic banking.

"We have private agreement among ourselves. Clients have the option to choose whether the e-commerce related laws of U.S. State of New York, or U.S. State of Illinois, or Singapore shall apply, explained Sammy Ty.

Citibank invested more than U.S. $140 million into the Citibank Commerce project.

"This is the nice thing," said Sammy Ty. "You have such an amount of investment. With the research and development shared globally, countries like the Philippines, where the market perhaps does not exist, will be able to benefit from something that is high tech and only, would say, be available to advanced countries."

Citibank Commerce will initially be available in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.



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