The City University of Hong Kong is to host the fourth International Conference on Electronic Commerce in October in another move to showcase its claim to be a leading regional business school. The conference provides an interactive forum for academics and industry players to share their experience and foresights in e-commerce. 'Our focus this year is on consolidation of experience in e-business over the years,' said Matthew Lee Kwok-on, co-chair of the conference and head of the information systems department at City University. 'We have gone through the first wave of e-commerce with the many failures that resulted - now it is time to have a look at the changing industry by the time the second wave comes at the end of this year. 'It is not just for generation of new ideas and vision, but to gain through evaluation,' Mr Lee said. The conference will be held from October 23 to 25 on the university campus. It has previously been held in Seoul and Vienna. Mr Lee said academics from more than 40 universities had confirmed their attendance. Keynote speakers include e-commerce specialist Andy Whinston from the University of Texas, and professionals from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the SAR Government. 'Success in e-commerce lies with good collaboration between government policies, company strategies and consumers. That's why we invite experts from different fields to share their experience and knowledge,' Mr Lee said. He said the conference also provided an opportunity for those who wanted to initiate e-commerce in China following its entry to the World Trade Organisation. 'Many mainland firms want to launch e-business, but they did not experience any failure in the first wave,' he said. 'It is a good chance for them to know more from their overseas counterparts.' City University has been linking up with information technology firms to establish laboratories and conduct research. The university, in partnership with Pacific Century CyberWorks, offers the Interactive Master of Business Administration (iMBA) programme, the first MBA programme delivered via the broadband Internet in the region. It was ranked first in distance MBAs by Asiaweek in 2000. The school was also the first institute in Hong Kong to offer a degree course majoring in e-commerce. It has built a knowledge discovery centre with SAS Institute, and an e-logistics laboratory with SAP to which the software solutions provider donated 50 licences for its enterprise portal software MySAP, worth about HK$1.2 million. 'To achieve our vision to be a leading business school in Asia, we have to have a distinct position - to focus on new-generation industries in Hong Kong and the mainland,' Mr Lee said. 'We have strong contacts with local companies and we help them to solve their problems, rather than just carrying out academic research.' The school is offering consultancy through CityU Professional Services at its Industrial and Business Development Office. It also conducts logistics studies in China for Hong Kong companies. Its Centre of Cyber Logistics made two logistics studies in Beijing and Shanghai for property giant Sun Hung Kai. More information on the conference is available at www.is.cityu.edu.hk/icec2002 .