Local businesses urged to embrace e-Commerce

James Kon

Only 16 per cent of local businesses sell their products online, an ICT Business Survey conducted by Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) revealed last year.

This means that the majority of local businesses have yet to adopt e-Commerce. There are still opportunities for local businesses to go online as existing local platform providers are readily available for them to become e-Commerce players.

The call for more local business to embrace e-Commerce was made by AITI Acting Chief Executive Ir Haji Jailani bin Haji Buntar at the launch of the Brunei CyberShop Fair 2020 at OneCity Shopping Centre.

Deputy Minister of Energy and AITI Chairman Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Matsatejo bin Sokiaw officiated the event as the guest of honour.

Ir Haji Jailani added, “Although the adoption of e-Commerce by businesses is still low, we need to emphasise its adoption by promoting online purchasing to the local e-Commerce vendors to generate revenue that can contribute to the growth of our economy.”

The acting chief executive also cited the rapid development of e-Commerce and its benefits.

He said according to a joint research released by the World Bank and Alibaba Group last November, e-Commerce has the potential to overcome market barriers and connect consumers with businesses.

“Jobs are created directly through logistics services and other parts of the wider e-Commerce ecosystem, improving household consumption and reducing the inequality in rural areas in terms of convenience, variety and low prices enjoyed by urban dwellers.”

Ir Haji Jailani highlighted that, “According to a joint study by Google and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, Southeast Asia’s Internet economy, including e-Commerce is expected to be worth more than USD240 billion by 2025. The study covered the six advanced Internet economies in the region – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

“The primary reason for this is the region’s growing Internet base. There are more than 350 million Internet users spread across the region as of June 2018 – 90 million more users than in 2015. More than 90 per cent in the region get online access via smartphones, making Southeast Asia one of the most dominant mobile-first Internet regions in the world. The development and growth of e-Commerce and online shopping have created new opportunities in many aspects. The development of smartphones and user-friendly mobile Internet experiences have made shopping online easier than ever before.”

On AITI’s initiatives to promote e-Commerce Adoption, he cited, “AITI is launching the Brunei CyberShop Fair 2020 for the second year. It is a three-day event that gather around 25 local online vendors, e-Commerce and security providers, banks and government agencies, to showcase and promote their products and services, as well as to raise awareness on the safe use of e-Commerce to increase consumer confidence in online transactions.

“This is our effort to encourage the public to shop and trade online, particularly through our local e-Commerce vendors while encouraging local adoption among the citizens.

“AITI has also embarked on a series of e-Commerce awareness talks for the public through its ‘Youth in e-Commerce’ programme targetting youth to take advantage of opportunities provided by e-Commerce to delve into online businesses so that they can earn their living independently. AITI has also created a ‘Digital Savviness’ programme for senior citizens where the elderly are taught the fundamentals and opportunities in e-Commerce as well as safe online shopping and online banking,” Ir Haji Jailani said.

He said to date over 300 youth and 80 senior citizens have participated in e-Commerce-related programmes since it was introduced last August.

The fair which opened yesterday continues until tomorrow.