Ninetowns (NINE) has launched iQS, a standardized software component of iProcess, the company's new software series available in China.

iProcess is a new software product that enables international trade enterprises and their suppliers to submit product quality-related data over the Internet to the State Administration for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine of the PRC throughout the production process. Such information can be submitted in advance, prior to importing/exporting the final products, resulting in a potentially faster declaration process.

iQS is a standardized software component of Ninetowns' new software product series called iProcess. It can be installed onto the client's system in less than one day. Previously, the PRC Inspections Administration had to physically sample and inspect almost every batch of import/export goods in connection with its decision making process. Now, enterprises can use iQS to download the relevant quality-related and industry-specific specifications from the PRC Inspections Administration. These specifications can be automatically generated into parameters for data collection during the manufacturing process. Once the required data is collected, the enterprises can again use iQS to submit the data over the Internet to the PRC Inspections Administration. In addition, the iQS contains an XML-based interface that can be connected with the enterprises' various internal ERP systems if desired.

iQS is now available in certain major cities in China, including Ningbo, Qingdao, Dalian, Hangzhou, Jinan, Tianjin and Shanghai. The price of iQS is approximately US$100 to US$800 per license, with a maintenance renewal fee payable after the first year of the license.

The PRC Inspections Administration import/export goods clearance processing typically consists of two stages: application filing and decision- making. Application filing can currently be conducted electronically through Ninetowns' software product called iDeclare. However, once the applications are received by the PRC Inspections Administration, the agency must make various decisions regarding the application, such as whether to sample and to physically inspect the goods. Such decision-making process can be relatively complex and require a relatively long time to complete.

In order to expedite the decision-making process while maintaining decision accuracy, Ninetowns developed the iProcess series software to be installed at the international trade enterprise-end. iProcess is designed to allow these enterprises to collect the relevant product quality data such as the component and the material used during the manufacturing process, then submit these data over the Internet to the PRC Inspections Administration in advance for analysis and tracking. Once the enterprises complete the manufacturing of their products and file the iDeclare electronic application requesting import/export clearance, the PRC Inspections Administration can potentially expedite its decision-making regarding these products by examining the manufacturing data previously filed through iProcess.

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