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Advantage tests its online marketplace

By Aimee McClinchy

Friday 15th September 2000

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Advantage and Qixel's much-hyped online trading marketplace SupplyNet missed its August live launch date but has begun some low-key pilots on its website.

Supply Net, which was meant to allow buyers and sellers to trade online some of the $3 billion annually spent on public sector supplies, was announced with a hiss and roar in May and picked to go live with both public and private sector clients in August.

By the end of August the trading site was still blank and SupplyNet was said to be having both pricing and technology problems.

But in the past 14 days it has quietly posted a pilot built by US e-commerce company Commerce One for government departments wanting to buy supplies.

Its catalogue of supplies is said to be complete but Supply Net's chief executive Carlos Martinez is keeping the rest of the project's details under wraps.

SupplyNet <www.supplynet.co.nz> is 50% owned by Professional Supply Brokers, the parent company of GSB Supplycorp, 20% by Advantage - and meant to incorporate Advantage's failed Venice project - and 30% by Eric Watson's investment company Qixel.

Auckland company E://volution, which Contact Energy recently bought 30% of for $2.5 million, has been piloting its trading portal <www.evolution.co.nz> for months.

Last week Telecom, Lion Nathan, Woolworths, ASB's parent Commonwealth Bank and EDS Australia signed a heads of agreement to form a supplies and services marketplace, Cyberlynx. Conceived in competition to Australia's 14-corporate strong Corprocure <www.corprocure.com>, it is expected to save millions: CBA has predicted it will save more than $A250 million over the next five years.

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