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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

News from NET and COM '99

  • Orico Opts to Use SET Protocol for Internet Auctions
  • February 16, 1999 (TOKYO) — Orient Corp., a Japanese credit card company also known as Orico, said that from March 1 its Internet-based Auction Market Japan (AMJ) will be made compatible with the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) specification.
    The move will ensure the full protection of data when customers purchase items through online transactions.

    Auction Market Japan is a members-only online auction site that the company runs.

    At the same time, the company will establish another membership-based site — a virtual shopping mall called Click Market. The creation of this site, which will be made available along with AMJ at the “Orico Mall” site (http://www.oricomall.or.jp/), signals that the company is taking serious steps to develop the market for electronic commerce (EC).

    The introduction of the SET specification is aimed at reassuring potential users and current members who worry about the security of data related to EC.

    At auctions held through the AMJ site Feb. 3-Feb. 6, the offered items included fashion and designer brand goods, sporting goods and foodstuffs, in addition to the mainstream computer-related products.

    To fully develop the potential of EC it is necessary to increase the number of members subscribing to the services, according to Koji Oketani, of the card planning department of Orico’s Card Business Division.

    With that in mind, and because the number of women Internet users is growing, one of the ways the company intends to expand its customer base is by offering more auctioned products targeted at women.

    Up until recently, a vast majority of the members of Orico’s service have been men. Of a total of 9,200 members, women accounted for only around 2 percent. But the latest set of auctions attracted an additional 700 new members, and of those 25 percent are women.

    Click Market will mostly feature companies that also supply products for sale via the auctions. When it starts, Click Market is likely to comprise 50 to 60 stores. Oketani said that if members visit the auction site regularly to participate in auctions, they will likely buy products at the Click Market stores.

    If the product lines at the Click Market prove to be attractive, combined annual sales for the AMJ and Click Market sites could reach 600 million yen (US$5.28 million).

    To coincide with the opening of its new virtual mall, Orico also will start offering a service targeted at other companies running EC sites. It will enable credit card payment transactions for those other sites to be made through Orico.

    An EC site that signs up to use the new service will first need to be connected to Orico’s card payment system via a leased line. All handling of customer credit card bills and processing of payments related to goods bought at the site will be done automatically by Orico.

    For users of this service, the initial registration fee is 200,000 yen (US$1,760) and the monthly service charge is set at 100,000 yen. In addition, a 15 yen (US$0.13) commission will be charged for each transaction made using the service.

    Orico also plans to start selling a software package to help people build their own virtual shopping malls and auction sites.

    (Nikkei Multimedia)

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