SINGAPORE (Sept 22): MoneyMax Financial Services, the Catalist-listed pawnbroker, retailer and trader of pre-owned jewellery and watches, has signed a joint venture (JV) agreement with Japan’s Aucnet Inc. to jointly develop what will be Singapore’s first online business-to-business (B2B) live auction site for luxury branded merchandise, gold, and diamond goods.

Aucnet is a real-team auction platform company which listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in March. Its wholly-owned subsidiary AIS Inc. is a third-party inspector of used vehicles in Japan.

Currently, the group runs an existing platform which deals with the auctioning of used automobiles, electronic products, flowers as well as branded items, and has a membership of over 24,500 companies.

An official signing ceremony took place this morning at Soo Kee Group’s headquarters where Lim Yong Guan, CEO of MoneyMax, and Aucnet’s representative director and president, Fujisaki Kiyotaka, also exchanged the pens with which they had signed the agreement as a sign of mutual respect and trust.

The established joint venture company, SG e-Auction, will be 51%-owned by MoneyMax with the remaining 49% interest held by Aucnet.

The initiative will combine Aucnet’s operational knowhow as well as experience in the B2B online auction industry, together with MoneyMax’s industry expertise and network in Singapore, says the latter in a press release issued on Friday.  

Through SG e-Auction, both parties also hope to tap on opportunities on Southeast Asia’s growing luxury market where it expects Singapore in particular to benefit from this growth.

MoneyMax and Aucnet expects the new platform to be ready by early 2018, and intends to make its services to buyers and sellers including secondhand retailers, branded dealers, pawnbrokers, jewellers and web retailers in Singapore along with the rest of Asia.

The two companies also intend for SG e-Auction to serve as an end-to-end online marketplace and distribution centre where authentication and grading, along with escrow services, will be provided as part of the auction process.

Aucnet president & CEO, Yasuto Saito, at the live demonstration of Aucnet's e-auction site

“We are excited to bring [Aucnet’s] successful business model to Singapore, and are confident of leverages each other’s strengths to grow this business as well as attract other fellow businesses to join this network,” says Lim.

“Through the network expansion of our channel partners, we hope to establish a fully-integrated system in the future, and aim to be the premier leading B2B online auction platform for pre-owned branded goods in the ASEAN region.”

Chua Taik Him, senior advisor for IE Singapore, during his address at the signing ceremony commented on the partnership as a timely one which validates IE Singapore’s strategic intent of developing and rejuvenating Singapore as a compelling wholesale trade hub.

“The term ‘wholesale trade’ suggests an image of traditional merchants doing a simple buying and selling business. However, this is not the case. It is time to reinvent our wholesale trade business models. MoneyMax is a good case in point. It takes a holistic approach to re-examine the evolvement of marketplaces and the connectivity of the newly emerged sources and markets,” says Chua.  

As at 1.30pm, shares in MoneyMax are trading 2.8% higher at 18 cents.