Since the advent of the web, life, in general, has been easier. Purchases can be made from the comfort of an individual’s bedroom. It can done with as little as a click of a button. E-commerce is one of the benefits of the internet. It has made great strides in a little amount of time. Online purchase intention rates have grown and doubled in size for goods such as; sporting goods, gadgets and appliances, videos/games, eBooks, cars and alcoholic beverages. Phones, electronic devices, and baby supplies are in higher demand than the other goods. A survey carried out shows that baby supplies such as diapers and formulas make up two of the top ten categories in E-commerce. Most times, young mothers are use in focus groups for marketers of these products.
E-commerce in Singapore is a big business Avenue, and it is still growing and expanding every day. The most popular categories in this form of marketing are non-consumables and entertainment based goods. Most consumers tend to purchase clothing, make hotel reservations and flight bookings using online platforms.
Singapore’s future economic development prospects and competitiveness are expected to be affected significantly. This is due to the development of e-commerce on a worldwide scale. Regardless of the fact that it’s still at its infant stage, Singapore’s experience in electronic commerce development is of interest from an International perspective. It’s one of the first countries in Asia to target the IT section for promoting economic development. It had already created a highly advanced ICT structure before the arrival of the Internet and e-commerce. One of the advantages that the country has on the e-commerce market is its strategic location and the excellent transportation methods develop by the state. These advantages have played a key role in attracting direct foreign investment flows to Singapore.
Prices play a paramount part for shoppers, as 70% of online customers pointed out that the reason they patronize various retail outlets is the competitive nature of their prices.
Despite its hype and various merits, e commerce is still in a state of flux globally, and there are some uncertainties involve in it. Some ventures could be bursting at its seams with activity one minute, and in the next, it suffers a severe meltdown.
The Implications of E-Commerce on the Structure of the Economy
Singapore has achieved the most impressive economic growth records among various developing nations over the last couple of years. As in Taiwan and Korea, production activities in Singapore have seen very intense and rapid technological developments, advancing from labor-intensive, pure assembly industries to increasingly capital-intensive and technologically sophisticated industries. But unlike their counterparts, Singapore’s high production performance relies heavily on direct foreign investments by multinational companies and industries. The country’s ability to maintain a vast and technologically advanced manufacturing base as well as a strategic business, financial and communications services hub thus provides the country with a unique mix of both the manufacturing strengths of Taiwan and Korea and the trading/financial intermediary strength of Hong Kong.
These particular advantages of Singapore over her Northeast Asian competitors are, however, counteracted by the limited size of the Southeast Asian markets within which the country is located.
With its city-state nature, Singapore enjoys a high number of economies of density in providing universal communications access, both wired and wireless, to its entire population. The advanced level of income and education of the Singapore population also carries both positive and negative implications for e-commerce. The population has a somewhat relatively high disposable income.
The minuscule size of the domestic market offsets the advantageous factors of this form of marketing significantly. Its population is too small to sustain most e-commerce applications by itself. Most e-commerce innovations target the international market from the onset because they have little hope of getting funds from venture capital if they target the domestic market.
The Physical Infrastructure for E commerce
When compared with other developing and even developed countries, Singapore has one of the most advanced transportation and telecommunications structure set in place for supporting e commerce. Its world class transport system gives it an advantage over other nations. Its air and seaports have been rank high in efficiency around the world. Even though they rank high in household penetration rates for fixed phone lines, they scored lower in some social infrastructural indicators like; press freedom and newspaper circulation.
With the advent of e commerce, the number of mobile phone subscribers tripled and the internet subscription rate increased by more than 6 fold within the same time frame.
Human Resources for E Commerce
Due to the significant public policy effort to promote the development of ICT skills, Singapore has a highly advanced ICT workforce. In addition to training IT professionals, the country also benefit from the immigration policy. This policy has help to attract talents from all over the globe, China and India in particular. According to a survey conducted, the increase in foreign IT workforce accounted for the exponential growth of the stock of professionals in the country. Especially over the last couple of years.
Overall E Commerce Initiatives
The e commerce policy initiatives in Singapore went through many iterations. First was the E commerce Hotbed Program, initiated in 1996. It aimed at developing the legal and technical infrastructure and services of the commerce. A more comprehensive Electronic Commerce Master Plan was established in 1998. It envisioned exploiting the Internet to develop Singapore into an international e commerce hub. By building on its obvious strengths in international trade, international financial services, telecommunications and IT systems. The initiative also aimed to create an e commerce service sector and to harmonize cross-border e commerce laws and policies.
Five primary policies are propose by the E Commerce Master plan to achieve these initiatives, and they include:
- To promote the usage of e commerce by different businesses and the public
- Developing an internationally linked e commerce infrastructure
- Jump-starting Singapore as an e commerce hub
- To encourage companies to use e commerce strategically
- Harmonizing cross-border e commerce law and policies
The Jumpstart program was created to focus on the local enterprises’ e Business basic needs. A company must completely satisfy a list of criteria before it can qualify. They include the following:
- Its fixed assets must not surpass US$15 million
- It must have at least 30% of local shareholding (Singapore PR)
- The employment size must not be more than 200 workers if it is in the service industry.
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