Portals ain't simple
to set up
If you thought it would be easy to launch a portal with just a good B2B
idea and enough cash or some typical angel funding, you may be mistaken.
At least, this has been the experience of software giant NIIT and four
leading tea brokers - J Thomas & Company, Carritt Moran, contemporary
Targets and Assam Tea Brokers. Teauction.com, a tea auction portal, promoted
by the Ayush Bagla owned Calcutta-based Hanuman Tea, has gone to Calcutta
High court (CHC) to stop NIIT and four top tea brokers from launching
a similar tea auction site. The Williamson Magor group of the Khaitans,
the Apeejay Surrendra Group and Centurion Bank has reportedly picked up
about 46 per cent in teauction.com.
Web Development Corporation owned
by the Todis of the Shrachi group developed the site. Teauction has alleged
that NIIT has hacked into its source code and is also party with the four
brokers in developing the new tea auction site. However the companies
have denied this. They have unanimously reiterated that they have not
accessed any of teauction.com's source code. They have also mentioned
that the law does not stop anybody in developing a portal, which replicates
its brick and mortar business model. CHC has, for the time being, allowed
an injunction in favour of teauction.com. But Justice Pinaki Ghosh will
continue to hear the matter hereafter.
portal for S. Indian tea auction
THE Calcutta-based Teauction.com has entered into a tie-up with TTBL Tea
and Technologies Ltd to launch auctions for South Indian teas.
The portal has tied-up for joint ventures to launch on-line auction in
Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Kenya by the end of November, according
to Mr Ayush Bagla, Managing Director, Teauction.com.
This B2B portal will hold a weekly auction of South Indian teas. The traditional
system of auction has many inherent flaws such as delays and high transactional
Besides the auction floor, the portal also offers a whole spectrum of
information - auction news and updates of all auction centres, production,
auction and industry news and trends. It is also WAP enabled.
Centurion Bank will hold a 26 per cent share in Teauction.com and has
come up with a corpus fund of Rs 200 crore solely for the portal members.
Sellers and buyers can approach the portal and take advantage of this
with finance schemes tailored especially for their specific needs.
The portal had also tied up with an American GPS for live weather feeds
six times a day, in all the tea growing areas. This facility would soon
be incorporated in South India too, he said.
Mr Bagla said in West Bengal all teas sold through Teauction.com would
have a sales tax parity as a physical auction. Consents from the governments
of Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala were expected within a month. The West
Bengal Government had given its consent.
Mr Philip John, Managing Director, TTBL, said South Indian teas were going
through a bad phase after the Russian market collapsed. A B2B portal would
give these teas access to other markets too. The Bought Leaf Factories
(factories which buy leaf from small growers) in the Nilgiris were paying
a high cost on interest and were finding it difficult to service the loans.
The tie-up with Centurion Bank would also benefit these sellers, he said.
Mr Bagla said the portal would soon be coming out with futures trading
set to be a WAP-enabled portal
Teauction.com, the B2B auction portal for tea, will become a full-fledged
WAP-enabled portal soon. The virtual exchange is also spreading its wings
to the south Indian terrain by tying up with the Chennai-based TTBL Tea
and Technologies Ltd for offering auctions in the south India tea, Mr
Ayush Bagla, one of the founders and the managing director of the portal
In tune with the changes
in technology, the promoters of the teauction.com has firmed up plans
to convert the business-to-business portal to a completely WAP compliant
site in two months time. "With this, buyers and sellers can transact their
business on the portal using their mobile hand set", Mr Bagla said.
He said after consolidating its business in north Indian market, the portal
is now spreading its wings to the south Indian market by offering its
auction services to growers and buyers.
So far teauction.com has been offering B2B services to north Indian tea
growers and traders. "With the accumulated experience of of TTBL in tea
broking, the partnership will present the marketing solutions for south
Indian tea. Interested sellers and buyers in Cochin, Coonoor and Coimbatiore
can now log on to teuciton.com or approach TTBL for registration and further
details on how to participate in these auctions", he said.
The promoters have also lined a number of value added products to be launched
in few months time. The products in the pipeline include a futures product
as well as secondary trade of tea, he added.
He said, the virtual exchange has been targeting a turnover of over 40
million kgs by the end of this fiscal. The major advantage of the portal
is the doing away of huge transaction cost which has been squeezing the
margins of trade in the physical segment, he added.
He said the virtual exchange is in the process of tying up with various
organisations in major tea producing and consuming countries. "By next
year, teaexchange.com will have presence in 12 countries including the
US, UK and Canada. The company has already presence in two producing countries,
Srilanka and Indonesia.
Teaexchange.com is promoted by three major tea companies in the country
in which the Centurian Bank has a major stake. While Williams and Megar
Group and APJ Industries hold 10 per cent each, Centurian Bank holds close
to 26 per cent in the venture. The remaining is with the tea major Hanuman
auctions now go mobile
IF YOU dig tea and happen to be a WAP-enabled SpiceCell subscriber, the
brew couldn’t get richer. Calcutta-based SpiceCell has just answered the
prayers of a section of the tea community who wanted to participate in
tea auctions while on the move.
That right folks, tea auctions through mobile phones will soon be a reality.
SpiceCell has entered an exclusive one-year agreement with Teauction.com
, wherein, Spice customers in Calcutta will be able to access detailed
news on the tea industry on their mobile phones; even participate in tea
autions on a national scale, starting next month.
Teauction.com is a portal-based B2B exchange, licensed by the Tea Board
of India to conduct tea auctions through the Net. Its shareholders are
Centurion Bank (26 per cent), the Williamson Magor Group (10 per cent),
ApeejayGroup (10 per cent) and the Hanuman Tea/Dhunseri group combine,
who jointly hold 54 per cent.
SpiceCell chief operating officer S Venkataraman termed the tie-up with
Teauction.com as an extention of promoting Spice WAPower.
“Calcutta is a major tea auctions hub and our WAP customers will be able
to track the latest developments in the tea industry, obtain tea-quotes,
weather updates on the 800-odd tea gardens across the country...bidding
priveleges will be extended in a fortnight,” he said.
While the access to teauction.com will be available to Spice customers
at standard WAP tariff packages, a possible re-alignment in WAP airtime
tariff plans for the tea community might pretty well be on the cards,
should market response be enthusiastic.
Bidding through mobiles will become a reality only after the proposal
is cleared by the apex governing council of tea auctions, constituted
under the Tea Board.
The facility will be initially available to Spice’s Calcutta subscribers.
Thereafter, it will be launched in the regional circles of Punjab and
Karnataka, where the Spice brand is also operational.
Incidentally, 75 per cent of the tea produced has to be sold through the
auctions route to protect the interests of tea growers, in line with the
guidelines of the Tea Marketing Control Order.
buyers, sellers go mobile via Spice-teauction.com tieup
Tea buyers, sellers go mobile via Spice-teauction.com tieup - The Financial
Tea buyers and sellers all over India can now strike deals on their mobile
telephones via an unique deal between the country's only tea auction portal
and one of the two cellular service providers in Calcutta.
Buyers registered with teauction.com, who are also users of Spice Telecom
will be able to monitor auction prices, strike deals and browse through
a whole lot of useful information provided their handsets are compatible
with WAP, or wireless application protocol.
Announcing the strategic tieup, Mr R Mahesh, Spice Telecom's general manager
for marketing, said the new service will be niche product but "extremely
Mr Mahesh said Spice expects a good response from the new WAP service,
pointing out that there are around 800 tea buyers in Calcutta and 200
sellers. Plus, there are around 3000 to 4000 people interested in the
Teauction.com's vice-president, Mr Sanjeev Sinha, said the mobile bidding
procedure will be activated after the Durga Puja festival next month.
At present, Spice users can get catalogue and quotes, garden-specific
weather and tea news.
Spice Telecom, a brand owned by Modicorp subsidiary Spice Cell Ltd, will
not charge anything extra for the facility, apart from the WAP rental
of Rs 250 per month and call charge of 42 paise per minute for post-paid
users and Rs 5 a day and Re 1 per minute respectively for prepaid users.
Customers will have to register at teauction.com, the seventh authorised
auction centre in India and the only one that is an online portal. The
B2B exchange, has been promoted by tea majors Williamson Magor, Apeejay
group and Hanuman Tea among others.
Teauction.com's Mr Sinha said his portal is also the only auction centre
that is licensed to conduct deals all over India. The brick and mortar
ones at Calcutta, Siliguri, Guwahati, Kochi, Coimbatore and Coonoor are
As for foreign buyers, Indian law does not allow them to operate directly
at the auction centres but teauction.com and its Spice tieup will allow
them to check out the auction prices by category, garden and other details.
"The buyer will get an alert on his phone when the price hits his range,
and will be able to bid," Mr Sinha of teauctio.com said.
Teauction.com has also tied up with a US satellite imagery firm to provide
detailed weather reports of all north Indian tea gardens. For this, teauction.com
gave the US company the geographical coordinates of the 600-odd gardens
in Assam and 200 in Dooars.
Spice to roll out intelligent network by year-end
Spice Telecom Ltd is going all out to upgrade to intelligent network or
IN service by December this year, according to chief operating officer
He said Spice has got an unexpectedly good response to the WAP service
since it was launched in August. WAP is third-generation or 3G in mobilespeak.
"Against our expectation of 3-4000 users by the year end, we have snared
3000 users in a month," Mr Venkatraman said. Of these, around 2000 are
Recently, Spice began providing stock market information via a tieup with
stockmarkit.com and has around 18 "content" providers for the WAP service.
He said Spice may consider a closed user group for the tea community,
once it gets the volumes via the deal with teauction.com.
Spice Telecom, Calcutta's cellular service provider, today announced a
tie-up with Teauction.com, an on-line tea-auction portal. Mr. S Venkatraman
of Spice Cell Ltd said, "This tie-up will enable customers to receive
catalogue, quotes and all kinds of news on tea through mobile phones,"
with teauction.com for WAP service
Spice Telecom added one more feather to its cap on Tuesday with a tie
up with teauction.com.
Spice subscribers will now be able to access catalogues, quotes on tea
by region and type, garden-specific weather data and other happenings
in the sector on their WAP enabled mobile phones. It may be mentioned
here that wireless access protocol (WAP) is a technology that helps view
Internet content to mobile phones.
Vice-president of teauction.com Sanjeev Sinha said: "We have data on over
800 tea gardens in Assam and the Dooars. A Spice subscriber will be able
to download the latest information on any one of them at any time including
its length, breadth, weather and other valuable details. This will help
participants in auctions to make decisions, in advance," Spice COO S.
Venkatraman said: "The service will be of immense use to foreign buyers."
Spice will charge 40 paise per minute and a monthly rental of Rs.250 for
post paid-service for using the WAP data service. For pre-paid service,
the charges will be Rs. 5 per day and Rs. 1 per minute. (TOINS)