E-commerce in region set to boom: Deloitte

The Asia-Pacific generated up to A$8 billion (US$4.45 billion) from electronic commerce last year, of which about 80 percent was in the business-to-business market (B2B), according to a report by Deloitte.

The Asia-Pacific generated up to A$8 billion (US$4.45 billion) from electronic commerce last year, of which about 80 percent was in the business-to-business market (B2B), according to a report by Deloitte.

CHINA (SCMP.com) - "The New Economy in Asia: Fact or Fiction?", to be launched on Wednesday, estimated revenues from e-commerce in the region will grow to between A$250 billion (US$139 billion) and A$300 billion (US$167 billion) by 2003.

About 90 percent will be in B2B, it said.

In spite of the rapid market growth, the report said serious problems with logistics, telecommunications infrastructures, and financial systems had slowed the adoption of new technologies in the region.

The report was compiled after interviews and consultation with more than 100 e-commerce experts from Hong Kong, the mainland, Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

Peter Williams, a partner and Deloitte's national e-business leader for Australia, said Hong Kong still needs to step up its efforts in improving education to produce more people skilled in technology or become a base to commercialise technology ideas from the mainland.

He said Australia does not have a track record of exporting technology despite its well-established infrastructure and education system.

And although India is rapidly becoming a skilled resources base, it still needs to improve its infrastructure development.

The report said the nine regional countries it surveyed made up only 21 percent of the world's online population, despite them having more than 41 percent of the world's population.

However, the 78 million Internet users in the countries studied still constituted a large number, and therefore a large potential market, it said.

The region's Internet user numbers are growing at a compound rate of about 45 percent, and would be more than 25 percent of the world's online population within three years.

For instance, the mainland's 16.9 million Internet users made up only 1.3 percent of its population and there was considerable scope for expansion.

In spite of the region's serious problems, Deloitte believes the outlook for the new Asia-Pacific economy is very positive.