Its size may be dwarfed by those of Japan, Korea and China, but the e-commerce business in Southeast Asia has been witnessing steady growth of about 15% a year. Online shopping in Asean now appears poised for a breakthrough to the next level, as more international e-businesses enter the region.
Many factors support online shopping in Asean. Growing economies and a swelling middle class, many of whom now have credit cards, provide the fundamentals. Computer and internet penetration is respectable. Logistics and distribution networks are greatly improved in many parts of the region of 600 million people.
But the industry has also learned that in developing economies, it needs to be able to serve people who have neither computers nor credit cards. Mobile platforms as well as alternative payment systems – debit and ATM cards, bank transfers and old-fashioned cash on delivery – are all popular.
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