Bailian Group, one of China's largest retailers, has developed plans for the second phase of the China Implementation Reference Project, a pilot program that seeks to expand usage of EPCs and RFID.

Bailian Group is using the EPCglobal Network, which enables automatic identification and visibility of product information, to track merchandise as it moves through the company's global supply chain.

The first phase of the pilot project involved simulation-based testing of RFID and information infrastructures, modeled on the hypothetical movement of products through a supply chain. The second phase will track the movement of actual products tagged with EPC-enabled RFID tags. Bailian Group expects the second phase to yield key information about the quality and uses of data generated through the EPCglobal Network.

VeriSign (VRSN) plans to provide critical components of the EPCglobal Network for phase two of the pilot, including Object Naming Services (ONS), EPC Information Services and Track & Trace Services. Each of these plays a key role in the storage, discovery and sharing of RFID product information.

"VeriSign has provided valuable expertise around the critical data infrastructure and has demonstrated the ability to support the security and scalability needed to improve visibility across our vast trading network," said Shi Jin Xiu, assistant general manager, Bailian Logistics.

For the second phase of the project, Bailian Group is inviting the participation of key suppliers, based on their level of interest in integrating RFID technology into the supply chain. Participating suppliers will tag shipments in their originating distribution centers, and send those shipments to a Bailian Group distribution center in Shanghai. The movement of these products will be recorded, enabling all participants to gain a more accurate view of inventory levels.

"The emergence of RFID and the Electronic Product Code is improving global visibility, collaboration and performance in the supply chain," said Jeff Richards, vice president, Intelligent Supply Chain Services, VeriSign. "Leveraging information captured from RFID and sharing it across supply chain participants is a critical next step in supply chain excellence. Our work with Bailian Group demonstrates VeriSign's commitment to helping leading retailers and suppliers adopt advanced technologies that yield better visibility into their supply chains worldwide."

As a leading distribution conglomerate in China, Bailian Group's capital totals over 40 billion CNY. Bailian Group employs 200,000 and operates over 7,000 stores across China.

In the tally of the top 100 chain enterprises in 2004 in China, Bailian Group and its business lines ranked first with $67.627 billion USD annual sales. The revenue of Bailian Group represents approximately 13.7 percent of the total amount of the national top 100 enterprises, and its stores account for approximately 18 percent of all stores from the top 100 retailers in China. Bailian Group's business lines include retailers, department stores and productive materials as well as logistic services and other services.

Bailian Group is exploring RFID and the EPCglobal Network to maintain its leadership position as an innovative retail company in China. It has worked with IT service provider JMIT to put a new information system into practice in 2005, and then began to search for a technological platform to support its growing network of suppliers.

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