Shui On Construction will launch two Web portals for the trade and management of construction materials in a move to save costs, according to chairman Vincent Lo Hong-sui. AsiaMaterial.com aims to save HK$30 million to HK$50 million for Shui On, which spends HK$2 billion annually on construction materials. 'We expect the portal to save more than we will invest in the first year,' said Mr Lo. Meanwhile, Socam.com, which will offer internal procurement and project management control, is expected to be launched in six months. While AsiaMaterial.com was designed to serve a wide range of clients - from contractors to distributors to retailers as well as mainland home-buyers - Mr Lo said it would focus on the export of raw materials from the mainland with the aim of making improvements. Mainland construction materials varied in quality. Shui On would be selective in the mainland suppliers that join the portal initially as Shui On would be 'sticking its 30-year-old brand name on its products', said Mr Lo. He added that Shui On had a track record of adding value to mainland manufacturers. For example, Nanjing Jiangnan Cement - 60 per cent-owned by Shui On - now exported its products to Australia. 'By sourcing suppliers we also expand in the mainland material market,' said Mr Lo. 'We plan to invest in these Chinese suppliers.' Last year, the mainland exported US$11 billion in construction-related materials, or 0.3 per cent of the world's US$3.2 trillion market, according to Forrester Research. Shui On traded about HK$1 billion in construction materials last year. The company's average gross margins are about 5 per cent to 10 per cent, roughly the same as estimates for the on-line divisions. Mr Lo believes AsiaMaterial. com will become one of the construction industry's key business-to-business portals. He declined to forecast the first year's turnover or number of suppliers available on the portal. Shui On will invite technology partners such as Oracle or IBM to work with the portal. However, the company has no intention of offering equity partnerships to eligible parties.