TRADE TEXTILE: SOURCE LINK IN ASIA

Byline: Scott Malone

NEW YORK — To grab business from textile buyers who are interested in sourcing from Asia but don’t know their way around the market, Hong Kong-based TradeTextile.com says its got a simpler route to follow on the Internet.
The business-to-business e-commerce Web site, launched March 1, is the creation of Allan Cheung, who spent the past two years trying to figure out a way to bring Internet commerce to the textile industry and give a new spark to the family’s textile trading operation, Dai Dai Development Co. Ltd.
In an interview from his Hong Kong office, Cheung explained that while the Far East is a very popular sourcing spot for textiles and apparel, the difference in time zones makes communications from opposite sides of the world difficult. He set up TradeTextile.com to support both auctions and direct sales, and buyers can shop an online directory of fibers, yarn, fabrics and garments and see what’s immediately available, without waiting for faxes or voice mails to be returned.
“The textile industry is very fragmented, very inefficient, and requires a lot of manual work to make one transaction,” said Cheung, who serves as chief executive officer of TradeTextile.com. “Imagine the time that buyers from the U.S. or Europe can save by checking the availability of products and prices from the Web.”
Cheung built the TradeTextile.com business around his father’s operation, which sold Chinese-made fabrics. By rolling that company into the new venture — of which the elder Cheung serves as chairman — the two hit the ground running, with the exclusive representation of six Chinese fiber and fabric producers.
Another 60 Chinese trading companies and manufacturers are offering their goods for sale on the site, but continuing to pursue other sales channels as well, Cheung said.
The site moved more than $2 million in merchandise in its first two weeks of operation, according to TradeTextile.com’s ceo. Cheung said sales on the site are exceeding his plan.
The site is organized by category, offering varieties of raw materials, textiles, apparel and other garment-business related items, as well as quota rights. A check of the site’s inventory last Thursday showed 633 lots of fabric, 523 of yarn, 155 of home textiles, 103 of fiber and 26 garments lots available for purchase.
It displays in English, Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese Chinese.
The site runs on software developed by Entrade Inc., a Northfield, Ill., technology concern, which has a 25 percent stake in TradeTextile.com, and like many heads of privately held tech ventures, Cheung is talking about making an initial public offering over the next year.
Right now, all fulfillment is handled by the companies selling or auctioning goods on the site. Later this year, Cheung said that TradeTextile.com, which currently has offices in Chicago, Shanghai and Hong Kong, plans to open a U.S. marketing headquarters. A North American fulfillment center for handling deliveries is also being considered, he said.
Cheung said he hopes the site will help North American buyers who are not familiar with Far Eastern suppliers to learn more about the market.
“So many people don’t know much about Asian companies,” he said.
“Now, through the Web, you can instantly see hundreds of suppliers and products.”

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