Commerce is being supercharged with the growth of the Internet around the globe, and one of the most powerful and compelling stories surrounding technology-enabled growth is how it is helping tear down barriers at the borders that inhibit small business trade.
According to eBay’s newly released report Commerce 3.0: Creating more opportunity in Asia Pacific, 82% of Asia Pacific eBay sellers sell to buyers outside of their countries while nearly 60% sell to five or more foreign countries. The Asia Pacific region will surpass North America this year to become the world’s No. 1 market for business to consumer ecommerce sales, according to research firm eMarketer.
For the first time ever, worldwide e-commerce sales exceeded $1 trillion in 2012, a 21 percent over the previous year. It is expected this year that sales will grow another 18 percent to end 2013 at $1.3 trillion in worldwide sales. And there is tremendous potential for more growth to come. According to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), small and mid-sized businesses (SMEs) make up approximately 90% of businesses and employ up to 60% of the regional workforce. In some countries such as Indonesia, SMEs employ around 99% of the workforce. These SMEs also contribute significantly to national GDP. In Southeast Asian countries, the contribution of SMEs to GDP ranges from 30% to 53%.
Platforms such as eBay show that exporting can be an important a source of growth and job creation for very small and mid-sized businesses as it is for large businesses. As Asia Pacific countries seek to increase trade with each other and the rest of the world, they find that distance matters less online. Technology-enabled commerce, by instantly providing SMEs with global reach, is an area through which SMEs in the region can expand into international markets.
Growth in commerce in Asia Pacific is just the start, fueled by technology it has the capacity to grow much much stronger, growing SME’s, exports, and jobs.