Online sales grow despite failures

Many online retailers may enjoy steady growth in their businesses this year, according to WorldPay, a provider of Internet-based security solutions.

Many online retailers may enjoy steady growth in their businesses this year, according to WorldPay, a provider of Internet-based security solutions.

(SCMP.com) - Chief executive and group chairman Nick Ogden said many e-businesses could benefit as online transactions became increasingly popular.

"Towards the middle to later part of this year, the increased use of the Internet for e-commerce means that [buying online] will become more commonplace than it is today," he said.

Recent failures of e-businesses did not reflect the market's potential, Mr Ogden said.

"There has been a huge amount of hype, activity and money given to some very high-profile dotcoms that have got themselves into a mess," he said. "But every month, we see growth in the number of merchants who want to go online. Many of these businesses are small and medium-sized companies that do not aspire to be multi-million dollar dotcoms."

Mr Ogden said further new online firms could be expected but more old-economy companies would have to look to the Internet to enhance their businesses.

"We expect a growth of companies that use the Internet as their sole means of trade. But for old-economy companies, I think they don't have a choice but to move in this direction," he said.

A key problem that had been plaguing the industry was not fraud but a lack of customer service facilities.

He expected a new WorldPay product would enhance confidence in online purchases. The service ensured businesses using WorldPay's payment systems would be reimbursed for fraudulent transactions made with stolen or lost cards.

Customers would also have their money refunded if they failed to receive goods ordered.

British-based WorldPay has set up a regional headquarters in Singapore and will open a Hong Kong office by the end of March.

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