Thu, Mar 04, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Yahoo-Kimo opens a new second mall for Internet access

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Eying the potential of e-commerce, Yahoo-Kimo Inc (雅虎奇摩), the nation's largest Internet portal, yesterday launched its second online store.

"There is huge room for e-commerce to grow," Rose Tsou (鄒開蓮), general manager of Yahoo-Kimo, said at a press conference.

Online shopping in the nation was worth NT$20.4 billion last year, making up 0.39 percent of all domestic retail business, Tsou said, citing statistics from the Institute for Information Industry (資策會). The institute estimated that the figure will rise 30 percent to NT$26.6 billion this year.

In the US, business-to-customer (B2C) e-commerce accounts for about 1.5 percent of the retail sector, showing that Taiwan's e-commerce sector was still in its infancy, Tsou said.

To compete with other virtual competitors, as well as brick-and-mortar rivals, Yahoo-Kimo's new shopping mall offers zero-interest installment plans, said Charlene Hung (洪小玲), director of Yahoo-Kimo's e-commerce business service division.

The Internet company also allows customers to pay three months after they order, Hung said. But if customers wish to return or exchange goods, they are required to file such requests within seven days after receiving the goods, she added.

Sharon Hsu (許佩雯), a marketing official at rival PC Home Online (網路家庭), the nation's fourth largest Internet portal, said there was much potential for B2C e-commerce to grow, as business at the company's three online shopping malls had enjoyed brisk sales since September last year.

Hsu refused to reveal sales figures, saying only that PC Home's sales averaged NT$100 million a month.

While e-commerce is again being ballyhooed as the next big thing in retailing following a slump starting in 2000, one e-commerce expert, however, said that this does not mean every online store will be able to make money.

"Online stores now not only compete with each other and physical stores, but also with consumers," said George Wei (魏志強), a manager of III's e-commerce resources center.

For example, there are various customer-to-customer (C2C) platforms such as online auction sites, led by Yahoo-Kimo with transactions worth more than NT$10 billion, which is more than most online stores sell, Wei said.

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