Global Sources, a leading business-to-business company in Greater China, says its will not exercise its option to buy an additional 35 per cent of GEM-listed HC International, which operates a popular mainland business-to-business site. Global Sources holds 12.8 per cent of loss-making HC International through wholly owned subsidiary Trade Media, which has an option to buy an additional 35 per cent of the mainland company at an exercise price of HK$2.2592 per share. Trading of HC International stock was suspended yesterday pending the release of price-sensitive information, the company said. The shares closed at HK$1.23 on Friday, meaning the option price would have represented an 84 per cent premium. 'We do not rule out the possibility of Global Sources renegotiating the option contract with HC International at a lower purchase price,' Citibank analyst Jason Brueschke said in a note. When Global Sources invested in HC International about a year ago, the move looked to be the prelude to an alliance that would take on Alibaba, the mainland's largest business-to-business site. Alibaba has both a Chinese site for domestic trade within the mainland and an English site for international trade. Revenue at HC International, whose HC360 Chinese site targets domestic trade, shrank to 57.3 million yuan in the first quarter from 57.6 million yuan a year earlier, even as the company narrowed its loss for the period to 14.9 million yuan from 26.9 million yuan. Trade Media also will not exercise an option to buy Huicong Construction's 18 per cent equity stake in Beijing Huicong International at an exercise price of HK$248 million. Beijing Huicong is 82 per cent controlled by HC International. Global Sources chairman and chief executive Merle Hinrichs said: 'Last June, Global Sources and HC International entered into a strategic partnership. Since then, Global Sources and HC International have evaluated opportunities to work more closely together. 'After careful consideration, our board of directors has decided not to increase Global Sources' equity stake in HC International at the pre-determined option exercise price, nor exercise our option to purchase Huicong Construction's equity stake in Beijing Huicong. 'Nevertheless, we remain in a strategic relationship with HC International and we will continue exploring co-operative opportunities.' Global Sources, backed by 36 years of experience in publishing trade magazines, has developed a successful business-to-business site for international trade between the mainland and the rest of the world.