GXS, China Entercom Partner for B2B Hub

The goal is to use process sharing capabilities to improve automation in China's rapidly growing automotive industry.

Business-to-business integration provider GXS announced a partnership March 13 with China Enterprise Communications Limited, a Beijing-based telecommunications provider, to bring process sharing capabilities to Chinese automotive manufacturers.

China Enterprise Communications, or China Entercom as its known colloquially, is launching with GXS the China e-Auto Hub.

The service harkens back to the early days of B2B trading hubs, circa the late 1990s, when companies were just figuring out what they could and couldnt accomplish online with partners and suppliers, particularly with the limitations of integrating different systems across firewalls.

GXS and Entercom have their work cut out for them.

Many companies in Chinas quickly expanding automotive industry are still standardizing on basic software packages; a trading hub with partners brings the concept of business automation to the next level.

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"Very few companies in China even have CIOs," said Bobby Patrick, senior vice president at GXS. "They are just now investing in internal accounting software, so B2B…" is a stretch.

The two companies are making the barriers for entry pretty low. Companies can get started with as little as $10 a month, with a broadband-based platform thats "pretty easy to use," said Patrick.

The e-Auto Hub will enable Chinese OEMs, parts and raw materials suppliers (40 percent of global automobile suppliers are China-based), retailers and third party logistics providers to integrate and automate manual processes with partners.

Users will have the ability to electronically exchange a swath of information from electronic design specifications to materials management documents.

At the same time, users will have the ability to automate supply chain functionality such as forecasting, order management and shipping processes, Patrick said.

The E-Auto Hub will electronically deliver documents—orders, shipping notices, billing notes—in basic formats from Electronic Data Interchange to its online counterpart ANSI.

Smaller companies can connect with e-Auto Hub using Web-based forms or a desktop translator.

For transactions with partners outside of China, the e-Auto Hub will integrate with GXS namesake Trading Grid, one of the worlds largest B2B trading hubs.

China Entercom has worked with GXS for a number of years to develop the hub, which has been endorsed by the National Development and Reform Commission of China.

"Automation of supply chain process is critical to improve Chinese companies efficiency and to increase competitiveness when companies move towards globalization, one of the governments key initiatives to grow the local companies," said Chai Yue Ting, an e-commerce expert at the NDRC of China Central Government, in a statement.

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