Fri, Jan 21, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Broadband, digital gadgets to help drive e-commerce

WEB SURVEY The widespread use of broadband connections and portable electronic devices is good news for companies selling services and goods online

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

The high permeation of broadband and wireless Internet access, along with the wide adoption of portable electronic devices in Taiwan will help sustain growth in the nation's e-commerce segment, according to a report released by online portal Yam Digital Technology Co (蕃薯藤數位科技) yesterday.

The annual online behavior report was conducted by Yam via an online poll between Dec. 10 and Dec. 31 last year and received 13,040 valid responses.

Rising Use of WLAN

The report found that 92 percent of users access the Internet through a broadband connection, up from 89 percent a year ago, while 42 percent said they have used wireless local area networks (WLAN), up from 33 percent in 2003.

Users in Taiwan are also buying more and more digital gadgets, the survey showed, with 55 percent of those polled saying they have a USB flash drive, 26 percent an MP3 player and 11 percent saying they own an Internet phone.

"The results show that people in Taiwan are embracing a digital lifestyle," Chen Jen-ran (陳正然), Yam's CEO, said at a press conference yesterday.

As of the end of September, 12.74 million people in Taiwan, or 55 percent of the nation's total population, used the Internet, according to statistics provided by the Taiwan Network Information Center (台灣網路資訊中心).

One interesting finding of the poll is that 55 percent of Internet users said they use the computer mainly for entertainment, with merely 45 percent using it for business and work. Users who have switched from dial-up Internet connections to broadband, say they have spent more time on playing online games, making Internet calls and shopping, which brings more business opportunities for the peripheral industries, said Jonathan Lai (賴志偉), Yam's marketing director.

Using online shopping as an example, Lai said the number of experienced online shoppers and the frequency of purchases in virtual stores increased last year from 2003. Comparatively lower prices and more information provided are the reasons behind rising online shopping traffic, the poll said.

Security Concerns

Security and privacy issues remain the top concerns for users when buying online, the poll said. This will not prevent e-commerce from growing, Lai said, adding that users place more importance on after-sales service and product quality when making online purchasing decisions.

Another sector that is expected to boom is mobile phone value-added services, Lai said.

According to the poll, 45 percent of users use their cellphones to receive and send short messages and 32 percent download ring tones.

This shows there is still room for mobile content providers to grow, especially multimedia messaging service providers, considering the prevalence of camera phones and the coming third generation telecommunication network, Lai said.

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