Table: e-Chaebol

Samsung, the trading arm of South Korea's family-run conglomerate, or chaebol, is using the Internet to transform its role as a middleman into an e-marketplace player.


Started in March, others in this field have had problems: GoFish closed its site on July 6 and provides only financial info on fishing companies.

Ownership: Samsung holds a 70% stake. Merrill Lynch and other companies hold the rest.

Trading Fee: A 1% fee is charged, vs. up to 10% for offline transactions.

Financial Goals: Expects to handle $250 million in transactions this year and break even by yearend.


Launched in May, GSX specializes in steel traded on the spot market. The field is a tough one: U.S. rivals Metalsite and Metalspectrum folded in June.

Ownership: Majority owners are Samsung, Cargill, TradeArbed, and Duferco.

Trading Fee: GSX charges 0.375%, while trading companies typically collect 3% per trade offline.

Financial Goals: Expects to handle $2.6 billion in transactions the first year.


Leading online marketplace for swapping industrial chemicals in Asia. Launched in October, 2000, the site has 1,000 registered users.

Ownership: Samsung companies are the big shareholders; 60 Asian chemical manufacturers also hold stakes.

Trading Fee: Between 0.3% and 0.5%, one-third the price of offline trades.

Financial Goals: The site handles $40 million in trades per month and is aiming for profitability by yearend.


Textile e-marketplace launched in March for buying and selling fiber, yarn, and other raw materials. Next year, Textopia also plans to trade fabrics, which earn higher fees.

Ownership: Wholly owned by Samsung

Trading Fee: Fees average 0.35% vs. about 4% offline.

Financial Goals: Trading volume to date is $38 million, with a target of $150 million by yearend, and profits in 2002.


Korea's top e-marketplace for medical equipment. First launched as a consumer site in July, 2000, one month later it focused on hospitals and other medical institutions.

Ownership: Samsung owns half. Hospitals, medical equipment suppliers, and doctors own the rest.

Trading Fee: Users pay between 1% to 3% in commissions vs. at least 4% offline.

Financial Goals: The site broke even in April and expects to handle $77 million in trades this year.

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