It’s a race for everything digital.
E-commerce firms are thriving in Singapore, more so than ever. With the rising labour costs and high rents, this market is quite an attractive one. Qoo10 saw its transaction volume double last year while internet sales in Singapore amounted to US$7 million last year. Even our supermarket giant Sheng Siong is starting to lose to its competitors like Redmart and even NTUC in terms of e-commerce initiatives.
A Digital Economy
As our e-commerce market is still in the midst of growing, there are plans to streamline trade rules governing the market so as to promote and lower cost of entry. This will be part of a larger push to help companies in the region expand.
Digital economy will be a key priority for us when we take over as chair of the Asean committee from the Philippines.
Singapore plans to drive e-commerce and other wings of the digital economy within the region, when it assumes chairmanship of Asean next year. The government intends to pursue a set of meaningful economic benefits, referring to the new policy for a single window.
Singapore will be leading these digital initiatives – integrating economies with the Asean single window. This helps speed up customs clearance via the electronic exchange information across borders, facilitating movement of goods.
With e-commerce sales making up 15% of total retail volume in the US and Europe, our Asean efforts just pales in comparison – which explains the need for a push in the Asean region.
It is set to lower costs for businesses, and push them to consider entering the e-commerce market to stay relevant. Basically it’s somewhat like a free trade agreement, seeing as how global growth is currently sluggish. The free trade agreement will also help improve efficiency and a regime for the other Asean states – essentially a preferential system for Asean countries.
Southeast Asia is the world’s fastest-growing internet region, and its 260 million users are expected to grow to 480 million by 2020, digital opportunities are aplenty in the region. With Singapore leading the push for e-commerce growth, it is highly possible to see our regional bloc being the top market of choice.