PwC to launch online market

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The Independent Online

Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers will this week launch an online market- place designed to reduce a range of business costs, including hiring temporary staff and buying office supplies.

Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers will this week launch an online market- place designed to reduce a range of business costs, including hiring temporary staff and buying office supplies.

The new venture, called e.conomy, is the latest in a series of internet exchanges that have been set up allowing a plethora of products and services to be available more cheaply. E.conomy, which will offer a marketplace for travel and hotels, is intended to deliver to companies savings of up to 20 per cent.

Since launching last December in the US, e.conomy has attracted 375 members. The service is up-and-running in Canada and Australia. After the UK, the next markets to be targeted will be mainline Europe and Asia.

In the last six months, the internet has witnessed an explosion of business-to-business exchanges designed to create globally transparent markets which enable buyers to find the lowest price possible. According to AMR, the research group, venture capitalists have funded 600 new independent trading exchanges in the last 18 months. However, AMR's latest report into the trading exchanges predicts that - through a process of bankruptcies, mergers and acquisitions - the number will shrink until there are only two or three serving each industry.

But John Baker, a PWC partner, claimed that e.economy differs from many other exchanges as it is a simple way of matching buyers and sellers, and does not aggregate buying power.

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