E-commerce partners launch MeetVietnam.com

Initiated by International Finance Corp. (IFC), a unit of the World Bank Group, companies from the United States and Vietnam on Friday announced the formation of a consortium to develop Vietnam’s first online electronic marketplace, to be called MeetVietnam.com.

The electronic commerce venture will be run along the same lines as a similar venture in China called MeetChina.com. MeetVietnam’s founding partners are the Washington-based IFC, San Francisco-based MeetChina.com and Vietnamese companies Galaxy Consulting and Corporation for Financing & Promoting Technology (FPT).

The Internet-based marketplace is intended to give Vietnam’s 30,000 private businesses access to overseas markets through applications ranging from product searches to order fulfilment, IFC said in a statement.

MeetVietnam will provide Vietnamese companies with online tools to manage aspects of cross-border trade, from discovery to delivery of products and enable them to establish direct dealings with companies around the world, the IFC statement said.

MeetVietnam is the first trade-based, e-commerce joint venture between U.S. and Vietnamese companies and will build export-import links between the two countries, IFC said.

IFC provided US$300,000 in seed capital through the SME Capacity Building Facility, a program to stimulate small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries. IFC also helped with the early development of the venture through the Mekong Project Development Facility (MPDF), an IFC-managed multidonor initiative to support SMEs in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

MeetChina has similar operations in Thailand and South Korea and has also announced tentative plans expand soon into Thailand, Australia and Malaysia.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Norman Mineta [CQ] presided over MeetVietnam’s launch ceremony during his visit to Vietnam as part of the delegation accompanying President Bill Clinton, the statement said.

IFC, in Washington, can be contacted at http://www.ifc.org. FPT, in Hanoi, is at http://www.fpt.com.vn. MeetChina.com, in San Francisco, is at http://www.meetchina.com