April 1, 2001: IndiaMART.com- India’s largest and oldest B2B marketplace has launched its online B2B auction platform on completion of five successful years of survival and growth. The platform will cater to the buying needs of over five lakh global B2B buyers that visit IndiaMART.com every month, by listing items for online auction by Indian suppliers. In addition, it will also serve to the members of its strategic partner- yourimporter.com, a conglomerate of importers in the US.
The new auction platform offers suppliers to register online and list their inventory for auction on an annual subscription basis. Based on English Auction, the seller decides on the Reserve Price, the Minimum Bid Price, Bid Increment amount etc. for an item. Interested global buyers on the other hand, can bid on the items listed for auction free of cost after going through the product information online. Participating sellers and buyers can easily track their auctions online, and once an auction is timed out, the seller is introduced to the winner of the auction to complete the transaction.
“IndiaMART’s objective is to make Indian businesses flourish at a global platform through Internet. We have been successfully doing it since 1996 through various B2B solutions and services like online directory offering free-listing and business query forwarding facility, building and promoting online catalogs for businesses, and building content & database-rich industry vortals, etc. We now wish to further benefit our member businesses from an online catalog based trade-lead system to B2B auctions that offer a more direct method of online trading and negotiations”, says Mr Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, IndiaMART Intermesh Ltd. on the launch of the auction platform.
IndiaMART.com, established in 1996, attracts international buyers looking for exporters, suppliers and manufacturers from India for their business needs. The online marketplace generates more than one lakh B2B trade queries every month through which its member SME businesses are estimated to have conducted a business worth Rs 600 crores in the last financial year alone. Already fetching 5.6 million pageviews, representing one of the highest figures in the world in the B2B segment, IndiaMART.com offers its visitors online B2B directory with over 60,000 businesses listed under more than 450 product/service categories. Visitors to IndiaMART.com can browse through over 1000 business catalogues and can interact online with member businesses. The marketplace also offers a lot of useful B2B information on key Indian industries, interactive community tools and business support services to facilitate B2B trade between its visitors and member businesses.
Through auction, it will now offer a more direct and interactive trading and negotiation platform to fuel online trade across countries as well as locally. “Our new online platform offering B2B catalogues, auctions, trade offers and other online business support services will bring online the ‘action’ that was so far being initiated at IndiaMART.com, but being finalised offline in the form of a transaction. Through online B2B auctions, whereby sellers will get the highest price for their inventory and buyers will be able to interact with multiple sellers at the same time for their business requirements. Such e-marketplaces make B2B sourcing process highly efficient, especially for industrial and international buyers. IndiaMART intends to leverage this potential in favour of the large SME segment in India engaged in exports by bringing to them global business opportunities.” adds Mr. Agarwal.
The platform will also avail support services including logistics, insurance buyer verification and sampling services online to participating members through a tie-up with global verification giant SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance, Geneva) to help build trust in online trade. IndiaMART is already talking to ICICI and Citibank for provision of online payment gateway services for B2B transactions through the portal.
The auction engine that drives the system online has been developed in-house by IndiaMART. The The new B2B transaction platform further aims at offering facilities like B2B reverse auctioning, ETOs (Electronic Trade Offers), RFQ/RFP (Request for Quote/Request for Proposal) along with business support services like business finance, logistics, insurance etc. to facilitate online trade. IIL is also developing a customised RFQ based B2B exchange dealing in stainless steel for Jindal Strips Ltd. that facilitates buyers and suppliers to interact with the organisation online.
A conservative estimate by the company reveals B2B transactions worth Rs 1,200 crores through the portal in the current year, resulting from estimated 3000 online auction deals. In addition, IndiaMART is confident of achieving atleast 2,500 online catalogues of member businesses on the portal by the end of the year, making IndiaMART.com the largest Indian B2B portal, not far behind those largest in the world.
Unaffected by the dotcom hype during 1999 or the bubble burst in the year 2000, the humble corporate has been silently growing at the rate of 110% p.a. on an average. IndiaMART is one of the very few dot coms that have not only broken even but have been consistantly making profits. IndiaMART was started in 1996 with a small personal investment by Mr Dinesh Agarwal, a software engineer belonging to a trading business family, who had returned to India after having worked with AT&T and Novell in the US, to start his own venture. The company, today known as IndiaMART InterMESH Ltd., engages over 160 professionals and operates through its head-office in Delhi and branch offices in Mumbai, Chennai and Lucknow, supported by a nationwide network of 24 marketing & service franchisees.