Cogobuy Group, a Chinese business-to-business e-marketplace for electronics products, recently joined with China’s leading search engine, Baidu Inc., to extend both companies’ Internet of Things offerings.

The two companies will offer Chinese small and medium-sized manufacturers funding and consumer feedback through Ingdan.com, a site operated by Cogobuy that connects start-up companies with suppliers based in the United States and other countries, as well as China.

“The strategic collaboration between Cogobuy and Baidu hits a sweet spot,” Cogobuy CEO Jeffrey Kang says. “Together we will consolidate our advantages, industry resources, explore prospects, and promote and develop the vertical health care, education and cloud computing solution industries that are involved with the Internet of Things. The future will be the Internet of Things era, and entrepreneurs cannot make any achievements without support from supply chain services.”

The Internet of Things, also called the Internet of Everything, involves the use of Internet-connected sensors, imbedded in such things as machinery and devices, and designed to send information about those things over the Internet to individuals or businesses. The information, for example, could alert someone when a machinery part was malfunctioning and in need of replacement.

Kang said that through Baidu’s support he expects to turn Ingdan.com and Cogobuy.com into the largest Internet of Things ecosystem in the world. Launched in 2013, Ingdan.com has since grown to include more than 500 foreign suppliers, including Microsoft Inc., 3,000 Chinese manufacturers and 2 million Chinese small and mid-sized manufacturers, says Hope Ni, executive director of Cogobuy.

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DJI, a global manufacturer of flying and camera stabilization technology headquartered in Shenzhen, uses the platform to connect with Chinese suppliers. Sleepace, a U.S. manufacturer of smart sleep monitors, uses Ingdan.com to market its products in China.

Ingdan.com offers three options for Chinese small and mid-sized companies:

• A crowd-evaluating feature that incorporates consumer tastes into a product’s design and development. “We can randomly select 100 registered users and send them a product to try,” says Ni. “They can respond with feedback like, ‘Oh, I like this smart watch because of this function.’ Or, ‘Oh, I wish it had this feature,’ so companies can get direct consumer feedback.”

• Funding for promising start-ups.

• The ability to find component and product manufacturers willing to produce a small amount of products for market tests.

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Ingdan charges a “small” service fee for linking Chinese manufacturers to business buyers. Ni declined to disclose the service fee.

Once a product is finished, Chinese small-and medium-sized enterprises often go on to sell the item on Cogobuy.com, Ni says.

“Cogobuy is the first company to introduce the Internet into electronic manufacturing enterprises,” says Ya-Qin Zhang, president of Baidu. “It’s the largest platform for the electronic manufacturing supply chain in China, and provides services to more than 3 million small-and medium-sized electronic manufacturing enterprises. With the enterprise data provided by Cogobuy, Baidu can better serve small-and medium-sized enterprises.”  

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