NZ Online Reseller Exchange on Hold

Australian Braham Shnider says a New Zealand online exchange for computer distributors and resellers is on hold until after an upcoming regional E-exchange group meeting.

Shnider holds the Australian and New Zealand licenses for local versions of U.K.-headquartered E-exchange PLC, and launched the Australian site in June with over $A30 million (US$15.7 million) worth of stock.

A New Zealand version was slated to launch this October or November. But Shnider says after the volatile tech market in the last few months -- where several other e-exchanges around the regions haven't fared so well -- local plans are on hold. Shnider hopes to catch up with the other regions, assess the model, and hear the parent company's plans while he is in Singapore within the next two weeks.

But he says the Australian site has been successful. "We've done $A13 million in trade since the launch, which was ahead of what we'd predicted," he says. Some sales have been for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock. Shnider says 10 percent of this trade was done by buyers in New Zealand. The site, which is only for resellers, not end users, takes a 0.5 percent cut on each transaction and has included specials from all the large Australian distributors.

The site has over 800 member organizations, 20 percent of which are sellers and 80 percent of which are buyers.

But Shnider says the initial $A30 million in stock held is now much lower, after management established what kinds of products sell online. He says commodity products, such as hard drives, processors, monitors and CD-Roms sell well. More sophisticated products such as servers and routers, which people like to research specifications for, do not sell well online, he says.

Shnider says he plans to license the E-exchange model, which is based on BroadVision and Oracle, to other industries such as medical suppliers and autopart dealers.

A separate computer exchange for end- users will also be developed, he says.

E-exchange was established in 1998 by former Apple, Compaq and Arthur Andersen executives and has opened exchanges in the U.K., the U.S., Ireland, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia.

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