Sinolink views LPG gains from e-commerce push

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 February, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 February, 2000, 12:00am

Sinolink Worldwide Holdings is gearing up to introduce e-commerce services in the mainland, taking advantage of its 180-strong liquified petroleum gas (LPG) networks.

The new venture will become part of the company's LPG business to be spun off on the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM), expected in the first half of this year.

Proceeds from the flotation would be earmarked to fund the company's e-commerce needs, amounting to 500 million yuan (about HK$467 million).

Chairman Thomas Ou Yaping said yesterday: 'We will expand the use of the existing outlets in 13 mainland cities selling bottled LPG to other products from groceries to daily necessities.' Payment would be made in cash on delivery, to make payment easy amid difficulty in getting prompt and fast payment in the mainland. Specific telephones would be offered for sale to help convenient hook-up for the computer illiterate.

'The concept of the service is like 7-Eleven chain stores, which are located around the corner, providing convenience to customers,' Mr Ou said.

The LPG networks would grow to 1,000 to better serve more customers, he said.

Mr Ou said the company would next month announce alliances it was forming with the mainland's leading supermarkets that offered their products on Sinolink's LPG outlets.

Strategic investors and partners would also be announced.

Supermarkets would be responsible for delivery of the goods to Sinolink's LPG outlets, which would in turn provide delivery services to its customers. A commission would be paid by supermarkets for goods sold.

Sales of LPG reached 500 million yuan last year, and are expected to rise to one billion yuan this year following the help of the new electronic service.

The company supplies LPG to 300,000 households in the mainland, hoping to expand to 800,000 later this year and five million by 2003.

Mr Ou expects there would be another five million households that would hook up to its e-commerce service by 2003.