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Internet Capital Group Heads to Asia

Internet Capital Group (ICG), a B2B e-commerce company, and HK-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd announced Thursday they plan to form two companies in Hong Kong focusing on B2B e-commerce in Asia.

ICG (ICGE) provides operational assistance, capital support, industry expertise, and a strategic network of business relationships to 55 B2B e-commerce partner companies.

Hutchison Whampoa is part of the Li Ka-shing group of companies, whose recent Net-related partnerships include ones with Global Crossing, NTT DoCoMo, priceline.com and DLJdirect.

ICG and Hutchison Whampoa will form two companies: ICG AsiaWorks, and an e-procurement services joint venture that will create a buying and selling portal for companies in Asia.

Canning Fok, group managing director of Hutchison Whampoa, said that the total investment is approximately US$200 million, among which US$150 million investment is from ICG. He said that US$25 million will be spent on the e-procurement portal development.

ICG AsiaWorks is a joint venture company - ICG, Hutchison, and Li Ka-shing Foundation Ltd -- which is acquiring a combined controlling stake in Harbour Ring International Holdings, a listed company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE), and renaming it ICG AsiaWorks Ltd.

The closing of the acquisition is conditional upon the approval of the transaction by the shareholders of Harbour Ring, listing approval from the HKSE and the granting of a whitewash waiver from the Securities and Futures Commission, and other conditions.

Kenneth Fox, managing director & co-founder of ICG, said the joint venture company will initially set up its operations in Greater China. He added that the company plans to eventually expand the operations to Japan, but not in the initial stages.

The e-procurement service company is another joint venture company of ICG, Hutchision and Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. Fok said that the investors reserved certain shareholdings for an additional potential partner -- who initially will tap into the buying power of Hutchison, Cheung Kong and their network of companies, and the e-procurement know-how of ICG and its partner network -- and decision on that will be made soon.

He added that the iBusinessCorporation.com -- a joint venture of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, the Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corp Ltd and Hang Seng Bank -- is under the consideration of the investors.

Fox, who is also the chief executive officer of the e-procurement service company, said that the portal will be launched in 45 to 60 days.



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