UOB to launch online marketplace for SMEs to buy business essentials at bulk prices

UOB will launch an online marketplace for its small- and medium-sized enterprise customers to purchase a wide range of business essential.
UOB will launch an online marketplace for its small- and medium-sized enterprise customers to purchase a wide range of business essential.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - UOB will launch an online marketplace for its small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) customers to purchase a wide range of business essential.

These include travel, stationery, general insurance as well as courier and logistics services.

UOB said a key benefit of this marketplace is the cost savings which SMEs will be able to enjoy from bulk-purchase deals negotiated by the bank with suppliers.

UOB will be working in partnership with cloudBuy, a global provider of cloud-based e-commerce and business-to-business (B2B) solutions, to create this one-stop virtual shop in the first quarter of 2017.

This marks the first time that a bank in Singapore will create a B2B marketplace, UOB said in its announcementon Thursday (Oct 13).

UOB said its data showed the number of its SME customers buying goods and services online has grown by more than 30 per cent over the past three years. Two in five UOB corporate credit card customers are now making their business purchases online.

Said Mr Mervyn Koh, UOB's managing director and head of business banking Singapore: "Through this new virtual marketplace, our customers will be able to enjoy good bargains with collective bulk purchases. This will help them to address the challenge of rising business costs.

"As the B2B marketplace will showcase products and services from different suppliers, SMEs will also be able to make purchases online conveniently without having to request for numerous and separate price quotations."

Said Ms Lyn Duncan, chief executive of cloudBuy CEO: "The fact that cloudBuy solutions have PCI DSS (Level 1) payment security accreditation1, the highest used in the payments industry, is really important to provide a trustworthy environment for buyers and sellers to come together."