New website aims to promote Hong Kong's latest designs

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The Independent Online

With news of China's ever-expanding online shopping market spreading by the week, Hong Kong's new generation of designers have been eyeing their cousins up north with envy.

And now help is at hand. The city's Trade Development Council - the government-backed international marketing and promotion organization - has joined hands with the massive mainland Chinese online shopping portal Taobao.com to launch Wednesday an online store which will showcase all that is great and good from Hong Kong's brightest young things.

The site - http://www.hongkongdg.com - carries ready-to-wear fashion lines, accessories, lifestyle products and homeware representing 50 Hong Kong brands.

Although catering for an international audience - with an English-language version of the site available - the portal is primarily aimed at China, a nation which last year saw online shopping sales pass 250 billion yuan (30 billion euros).

Among the designers featured on the site are Prudence Mak http://www.chocolaterain.com who specializes in jewelry and Gabriel Choi http://www.lehommebranche.com who produces limited-edition designer ties.

Already this year there has been intense interest in the mainland Chinese online market. Taobao has recently linked up with Yahoo! Japan to develop the China Mall site http://chinamall.yahoo.co.jp/ which they claim now offers 450 million products to around 250 million clients.

And market watchers Informa Research recently claimed that the Asian market for "wireless shopping'' was set to climb from US$24 billion (20 billion euros) spent in 2009 to US$139 billion (114 billion euros) this year.

US online giant PayPal is currently developing an online site with the Singapore government-backed Infocomm Development Authority and earlier this year set up a site with Malaysia's Maxis mobile operator that will provide secure online shopping transactions.

PayPal claims "mobile commerce'' alone will account for US$500 million (410 million euros) worldwide by the end of the year, up from US$141 million (115 billion euros) last year.

MS

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