A consortium of Chinese political, economic, manufacturing, and retail partners today announced the formation of a far-reaching retail marketplace that will electronically link over 50,000 suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers in the Asia region.

Consortium members include the China Federation of Industrial Economics, the National Integrated Company of Hualian Commercial Building, Ltd, SumStar Group Corp, Beijing Sanhe Commercial Affairs Develop Co Ltd, Multiple International Investment Co Ltd, Pacific Asia Corporation, and, Beijing Cexin Investment Consulting Co Ltd. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The new retail exchange will automate the end-to-end processes for sourcing, procurement, logistics, and payments in China's domestic marketplace and also for retailers in North America and Europe who are sourcing product out of China and other Asian countries.

It is the first time the formation of an electronic trading community has been launched with the active participation and support of retail industry interests, government agency involvement, buyers, sellers, and a retail industry applications provider. In addition to Retek, the retail industry applications provider that will be running the exchange, other principal members of the consortium include: -
  • The China Federation of Industrial Economics (CFIE). CFIE is responsible for uniting trade organizations for the purpose of industrial modernization in China's development of its market economy. The Federation comprises national, provincial, and local trade organisations. CFIE has more than 500 member groups, including more than 138 national trade organizations. Members include 300 of China's largest enterprises and enterprise groups.
  • The National Integrated Company of Hualian Commercial Building, Ltd, China Commercial Group (CCG). Hualian is the largest department store chain in China with over 400 locations. The company was established by the Bureau of Internal Trade, the ministry that licenses and regulates the retail and distribution industry in China. CCG has 55 subsidiaries and owns or is a major partner in a majority of China's retail industry including shopping centres, retail department stores, specialty retail stores, supermarkets, distribution centres, distribution networks, real estate development, foreign trade, and technology development.
  • SumStar Group Corp (SGC) is the investment arm of the China Bureau of Light Industry with a mandate to develop opportunities in light industry, establish diversified businesses and to promote growth and competitiveness. SumStar is a partner with Revlon, Bacardi-Martini Group, Unilever, Matsushita Corporation, and other major domestic and foreign enterprises in China.
  • Multiple International Investment Co Ltd, a holding investment company located in Hong Kong, is involved in the modernisation of China's market economy. It owns 34 companies in a variety of industries throughout China, including major department stores, breweries, distilleries, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and movie and television production. The Group is actively involved in a variety of industries throughout China.
  • Beijing Sanhe Commercial Affairs Develop Co Ltd has 10 department stores located in major cities in China and plans to expand to 20 stores during the next year.
  • Pacific Asia Corporation is a company involved in developing strategic relationships and joint ventures in apparel, textiles, technology, retailing, engineering, energy, education, and investment banking.

"We are very excited about building this new exchange," said Dr Du Jin Ling, executive vice chairman for the China Federation of Industrial Economics, the principal national trade association of the Peoples' Republic of China involved in the transition of enterprises to the market economy.

"The founding members represent all the right ingredients needed to help realise the dream of building a powerful business-to-business network. Our new exchange will quickly bring value to China's retail industries and provide reach to markets around the world."

The vision for the new exchange company, called MAI Exchange, Inc (MAI), is to build a domestic trading exchange that will become a major player as a global trading and sourcing exchange.

"We sought out Retek as our partner because of its deep knowledge of retailing and its solid reputation for technology leadership with retail.com, the Retek Retail Server, and well-established family of retail applications," said Zhang Qingmin, chairman, MAI Exchanges, Inc. "MAI required a special company that could get us up and running quickly while working well with all the consortium members. Retek filled the bill. The potential for our relationship is boundless. It allows the Chinese retail and supply industries to fully integrate into the world economy using Retek solutions."

"Retek's agreement with MAI is nothing less than historic in our industry," said John Buchanan, Chairman and CEO of Retek. "This is not only about building an electronic community in China, but it involves an extraordinary level of involvement from political, economic, and retail interests for us to work with. It's another example where the retail reputation and exchange leadership of Retek is taking us into exciting new venues with exciting new partners."

About MAI Exchange, Inc
MAI Exchange, Inc is a consortium of Chinese political, economic, manufacturing, and retail partners. Its members include the China Federation of Industrial Economics, the National Integrated Company of Hualian Commercial Building Ltd, China Commercial Group, SumStar Group Corp, Multiple International Investment Co Ltd, Beijing Sanhe Commercial Affairs Develop Co Ltd, and Pacific Asia Corporation.

About Retek Inc
Retek Inc delivers high capacity, full function business infrastructure exclusively for the changing world of retail. Retek's solutions deliver improved decision-making capabilities and operational efficiencies by enabling supplier network orchestration, multi-channel selling, and retail CRM. Retek solutions are available on client platforms, through retail.com - Retek's Marketplace for the Retail Community - and via electronic exchanges operating Retek's Retail Server.

Retek's customers include AnnTaylor, Brooks Brothers, Family Dollar Stores, Kohl's Department Stores, and Selfridges.

For more information, visit Retek's website at www.retek.com or call +1-877-362-2532. Retek can be contacted in Europe at +44-20-7872-5795.