Chinese Business Portal Banking On WTO Approval

Despite the fact that the U.S. Congress has yet to put the final stamp of approval on China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), Washington-based portal company China 2000, Inc. launched China2000business.com Thursday in an effort to promote electronic trade between the two countries.

The site is set up to be an encyclopedia of information about Chinese businesses and markets, providing a listing of Chinese companies and corporate profiles to guide U.S. companies who are looking for prospective business partners in the world’s largest nation.

Companies from the two countries will not actually be able to link up on a broad basis until the Republican-led Congress approves China’s bid to join the WTO, but Clinton administration officials are optimistic that the pact will be approved.

The deal lifts China’s ban on foreign investment in Internet stocks and clears the way for U.S. companies to enter China’s online market, which is expected to mushroom over the next two to three years.

“We have full confidence in the expansion of the Internet market in China, which is already the fastest growing in the world,” CEO Dennis Mullin said. “We plan to become a major gateway between the two markets, and also to aggressively pursue retail e-commerce opportunities.”

Not Just Another Online Mall

China2000business.com, which appears in English but plans to add Chinese soon, is more of an information source than an actual online marketplace. It gives businesses one central location to look for usually hard-to-find data and news of the rapidly changing Chinese economy. The site carries business headlines, a schedule of online trade fairs and offline exhibitions, and information on development strategies.

The guide also includes practical information to assist in the boom of business travel that is expected to accompany China’s new trade policy. The site offers a hotel directory and travel tips, and information on visas and other government regulations.

Most of these services may also be useful to Chinese businesses that are preparing to do business with U.S. firms. In addition, the site has links to all major U.S. newspapers and a comprehensive listing of U.S. government Web sites.

China2000business.com does include an online marketplace as well, which currently only offers Chinese art for sale. The company plans to add other categories of products from China as business relationships develop.

Crossing Cultures

In addition to the typical shipping information and checkout area, the shopping page will also provide customs information to help buyers calculate fees and follow export rules.

“One of the largest obstacles to business is cross-cultural, you have to have on-the-ground support, translation and logistical help, and know that you are not wasting your time. That’s what we intend to provide,” China2000 Vice President Sheri Yan said.

China 2000, Inc. also publishes the monthly newsletter “China 2000,” which is delivered to subscribers in the United States and Europe. The online version of the newsletter and the China2000business.com site will link to each other to help drive visitors and subscribers.

“China 2000” is part of a line of publications from Mullin Communications that covers political and commercial news in various countries.

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