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PLA makes buying easier with internal online mall

2015-03-27 09:25 China Daily Web Editor: Wang Fan

The People's Liberation Army is setting up an internal online mall to buy equipment and other necessities for its units.

The mall will become operational before the end of the year and is set to be accessed initially in a trial run by the PLA General Logistics Department's Beijing headquarters and its subsidiaries in the capital.

In a statement on Thursday, the department also said the site will gradually become available to all PLA units.

The site's suppliers will be selected by open tendering, and making purchases on it will be as easy and convenient as on the popular Taobao site, the statement said.

It will offer office, sports and education equipment and sanitary devices. Bulk orders can be submitted to the site, and all payments will be settled through the PLA credit card or by online money transfers.

The statement said businesses that want to sell on the site should offer their goods at a discount, and the military will commission third-party market assessment agencies to check prices and the quality of goods available on the platform.

PLA Daily quoted officers from the General Logistics Department who handle supplies of materials as saying the online mall is aimed at increasing buying efficiency, reducing costs and helping soldiers to make purchases.

It is the latest move by the Chinese military to boost the use of information technology in its operations and to engage the private sector in the buying process.

In early January, the PLA General Armaments Department opened a website to help private enterprises bid for weapons and equipment contracts. Last week, the site carried out an open bidding process for the first time.

Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said, "Private companies now have many more opportunities to obtain a PLA procurement contract, as the military has become willing to take advantage of Internet technology to improve its operations."

China has been opening the defense market to private enterprises gradually since 2005, when the central government issued a series of instructions encouraging the private sector to enter the market.

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