Hong Kong Giants Create E-C Venture

Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp Ltd., Hang Seng Bank, Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. and Hutchison Whampoa
Monday spent HK$3 billion ($385 million) to create a
mysterious new e-commerce venture.

aims to bring more businesses online and will dig into the
resources of each partner to reach its targeted audience with B2B and B2C
services. The venture participants will contribute, among other resources,
network capacity and each partner’s customer base to the deal. Portals and
venture-created online businesses are already in the pipeline.

Cheung Kong and Hutchison, which itself is a unit of the Cheung Kong group,
control the vast majority of the company with a combined stakehold of 75
percent, with HSBC and Hang Seng splitting the remaining 25 percent. Hang
Seng Bank is similarly a major subsidiary of global bank HSBC.

The companies have not specified any specific services or products as of
yet, but says that the scope of the potential endeavor is unlimited and that
the “crux of the matter is the market reach.”

Hutchison last week launched a separate business portal, tom.com, but the
company said it is not currently interested in injected tom.com as one of
the new joint venture’s portals. The companies said that tom.com is a
content-driven portal targeting solely the Chinese audience, and is
marketing itself as an “infotainment” portal, while iBusinessCorporation.com
will be strictly business.

iBusinessCorporation.com’s stated interests are to facilitate businesses in
the direction of e-commerce, by streamlining existing operations as well as
providing transaction services online. Potential services may include
insurance, real estate, procurement, wholesaling and retailing. The venture
has put out a call for service proposals from other companies and

The venture is headquartered in Hong Kong for now, but the company is not
ruling out relocation and regional structures once expansion efforts take

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