European software solutions provider, VcsTimeless, heads for China

In June 2004, VcsTimeless, leading software solutions provider to the speciality retail sector, signed a partnership agreement for the commercialisation and support of its leading retail software solutions with Bedford Technologies Ltd, a specialist management solutions provider who sell and deploy software solutions both locally in China and abroad. Bedford Technologies, based in Hong-Kong, Guangzhou (Canton) and Shanghai will now sell and support the VcsTimeless solutions to local Chinese retailers and to Western retail chains expanding into China.

Under the terms of the agreement, Bedford Technologies will translate the retail management solution, Colombus, into Chinese and support existing European VcsTimeless clients expanding into China.

The distribution agreement with Bedford Technologies marks the first step in VcsTimeless international partner programme and is a major development in its strategy to have a presence across China.

In order to break into this rapidly expanding new market, currently growing at a rate of 15%, VcsTimeless has chosen a partner who can offer recognised expertise and experience in the speciality retail IT sector, has a 100-strong team and an established name in South East China.

In addition to its retail software activity, Bedford Technologies also designs management solutions for textile companies (manufacturers and exporters) and is a distributor of HR management solutions. Some of its most prestigious clients include Ice-Fire, Itokin, Onwards Kashiyama (textiles), FANCL (cosmetics), Links of London, New Time Jewellery (jewellery), Jing Mei Industrial Group & United Pacific Industrial Group (production).

Michel Ramis, CEO for VcsTimeless, comments, Numerous clients such as childrenswear retailer, Orchestra, have plans to expand into China. We therefore needed a partner who shared the same fundamental values of quality service and client satisfaction. Bedford Technologies corporate positioning, client base and development strategy made it a perfect fit as a partner with whom we could build a successful business relationship.

Bedford Technologies selected VcsTimeless as a business partner for a number of reasons: the suitability of the multi-channel Colombus solution for the Chinese retail market (a solution already selected by more than 450 European clients), technological leadership as an early adopter of the Microsoft .Net platform and an ambitious strategy of international development. Bedford Technologies saw an alliance with VcsTimeless as an opportunity to expand and enhance their product offering and to grow the business by extending their target market.

Eddy Yiu, Director of Bedford Technologies, comments, One of the key elements in our partnership with VcsTimeless is our shared vision. We believe the time is right to capitalise on the enormous potential in the Chinese market by offering best in class retail management solutions adapted to the business requirements of retailers operating in China.

The VcsTimeless / Bedford Technologies agreement is effective from September 2004. The Colombus solution will be translated into Chinese by November 2004 when the VcsTimeless international sales team will begin talking to European and American retailers who are looking to expand into China. Bedford Technologies will approach Western retailers already present in China who are using local solutions. Local Chinese retailers will be prospected from June 2005.

Michel Ramis, concludes, In 2002 we began a strategy of international development. We opened offices across Europe and the US with the objective that 25% of our turnover in 2004 would be generated by international operations. Today, the partnership with Bedford Technologies offers us the possibility to become the leading software solutions provider in China and to initiate business in the Far East. According to provisional calculations, the Chinese market could generate between 20-30% of our global turnover within the next four years.

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