Bank of East Asia

03 Mar 2000

Simmons & Simmons advises Bank of East Asia on its first e-commerce venture

Simmons & Simmons, the international law firm, recently advised Bank of East Asia (BEA), Hong Kong and China Gas (Towngas) and Harmony Asset on the establishment of iBrandDirect.com, a new online company selling branded goods directly from manufacturers to customers at discounted prices.

iBrandDirect.com is owned in equal share by BEA, Towngas and Harmony Asset, with a joint investment of HK$54million.

iBrandDirect.com will initially offer products in four major groups: home; office; personal and entertainment and will provide a door-to-door delivery service. Its initial focus will be on the Hong Kong market with plans to expand into China in the future.

BEA is one of Hong Kong's leading financial institutions and is the first lending institution to establish an e-commerce venture. It brings with it a vast customer base of bank and credit card accounts and will offer a secured payment gateway. BEA launched its own electronic banking service at the end of last year, East Asia Cyberbanking Service, which will be linked to iBrandDirect.

Towngas also brings a large customer base of 1.3 million households to the table. This, coupled with Harmony Asset's extensive experience in marketing and merchandising, is set to make iBrandDirect.com a leading player in the market.

iBrandDirect will form a strategic alliance with iCare.com Limited, a Towngas subsidiary providing an online sales service of discounted branded-merchandise.

The Simmons & Simmons team included Daniel Liew and Victoria Lloyd.

Daniel Liew commented:

"This was an extremely interesting deal to work on with BEA. We have a very strong corporate and communications practice and were able to offer BEA cutting edge advice in this rapidly developing area."

ENDS

Notes for editors:

1. Simmons & Simmons is worldclass law firm with offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Lisbon, Milan, Rome, Madrid, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Shanghai and New York with over 1,400 staff worldwide. For further information on Simmons & Simmons please visit our website at www.simmons-simmons.com.

2. Simmons & Simmons' Hong Kong office provides a full range of legal services to a wide base of major multinational companies, international investment banks, government agencies and local companies. The office has 65 lawyers including 13 partners and a total staff of over 140. The office has extensive experience of corporate, international finance, commercial litigation, intellectual property, construction and property matters. The Hong Kong office works closely with the Shanghai office advising clients in Hong Kong, the PRC and throughout Asia.

3. Photographs of Daniel Liew and Victoria Lloyd are available upon request.

For further information, please telephone:
Daniel Liew (e-mail), Partner, on (852) 2868 1131