19th January 2007|
Net-ting foreign markets
Online portal BuySingapore can help businesses go global by matching them
with trade leads abroad.
Business expansion is the second most important strategy among SMEs in their
early stages of growth, according to a recent survey by DP Information Group.
However, while expanding into new overseas markets is an important business
strategy, the path can be less than straightforward.
The 2006 SME Development Survey highlighted that companies face many
challenges when venturing abroad. Topmost on the list were lack of manpower,
overseas knowledge and overseas business contacts.
There is some good news, though, with the recent launch of BuySingapore. Over
100,000 Singapore enterprises now have this new innovative platform to reach out
to global export markets, giving them yet another tool in their challenge to
remain competitive in a fast-paced global trade environment.
Officially launched in November 2006 by Minister of State for Trade and
Industry Lee Yi Shyan, BuySingapore has been billed as the city's single most
comprehensive online business matching and trading portal.
The export booster is a national initiative of International Enterprise (IE)
Singapore, in collaboration with private sector partner Abecha Pte Ltd. IE
Singapore is an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry spearheading
Singapore's efforts to develop its external economic wing while Abecha, a
joint-venture of Sesami, Microsoft and Intraco, is a premier sourcing and
procurement service provider.
The e-platform is already generating positive results for one company.
Said Ismail Shariff, chief executive officer of Binari Singapore: "By
subscribing to BuySingapore we were able to gain access to overseas buyers,
including those from the Middle East countries who are interested in importing
"We were surprised by the speed and efficiency in generating trade leads,
given that BuySingapore and our Bali Secret products were newly launched. We are
glad and pleased with the positive qualities of the business leads generated
from our participation in BuySingapore," he said.
An estimated $10 million will be invested in the BuySingapore initiative by
both IE Singapore and Abecha to develop and market the portal over the next five
With active participation in
overseas trade shows such as the SME tradeshow in Hong Kong,
IE Singapore aims to attract 30,000
foreign trade leads annually.
Abecha will oversee areas such as local marketing,
customer service and daily operations of the portal while IE Singapore will take
the lead in acquiring foreign leads via its global presence in over 30
locations. Through this joint effort, IE Singapore aims to attract 30,000
foreign trade leads annually that will be disseminated through the portal.
BuySingapore aims to facilitate the online business matching of local and
foreign enterprises by allowing them to create and view company profiles, trade
leads and product catalogues spanning a wide range of industry sectors - from
manufacturing to electronics, food and lifestyle products and services.
Another feature includes an auto-matching mechanism where enterprises will be
alerted to appropriate matches, allowing local and foreign businesses to make
initial connections with each other.
For many Singapore enterprises, exporting will be their first step to internationalisation. With BuySingapore, companies can benefit from the already
established Singapore brand name and collective marketing of Singapore's key
"With plans to proactively acquire foreign leads and aggressively market the
portal, we aim to establish BuySingapore as the trusted e-platform for overseas
companies to procure Singapore products and services," said Chong Lit Cheong,
chief executive officer of IE Singapore.
According to Thian Tai Chew, director, enterprise group, at IE Singapore, the
BuySingapore initiative is more than just a dotcom portal. Behind the portal
front is an active foreign marketing and leads acquisition plan championed by IE
IE Singapore's recent participation at the 21st International Autumn Trade Fair 2006 in Dubai from
17 to 20 Dec.
"As a start, IE Singapore will be promoting BuySingapore
actively in key overseas trade shows and business missions. We will actively
acquire foreign leads through our presence in over 30 locations worldwide,
engage overseas marketing agents and partner our overseas trade counterparts to
ensure that BuySingapore will provide plenty of opportunities for
Singapore-based enterprises to connect with international markets," added Mr
Thian. Since April last year, BuySingapore began its outreach to foreign
companies looking for Singapore business partners through international trade
shows like Foodex Japan, Nepcon Shanghai and SIAL 06 in Paris. This year, IE
Singapore plans to continue its marketing efforts in key markets and regions
such as Asean, North Asia, UAE, India, Germany and Australia.
In Singapore, Abecha is already working with IE Singapore's partners, various
trade associations and channel partners such as Yellow Pages, DP Information, Insis and Sesami to market and drive awareness and ensure up-to-date company and