Tue, Nov 20, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Entrepreneurs urged to tap e-commerce market in Taiwan

By Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

The local e-commerce market, valued at NT$93.5 billion (US$2.9 billion) last year, should see a 10 percent growth to NT$185.5 billion this year, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (外貿協會, TAITRA) said yesterday.

The market will grow 37 percent to NT$254.7 billion next year, TAITRA official Liao Lung-ming (廖隆銘) told a press conference in Taipei.

E-business costs can be low with no space limitation, he said.

"Ninety-nine percent of products have the potential to be marketed," he said, adding that even average-sellers products have a chance to outperform hot-selling products

GROWING MARKET

Statistics show that 1.1 billion people worldwide went online last year, and there by July of this year were more than 125 million Web sites in the world, Liao said.

The potential for e-commerce is tremendous, and Taiwanese e-commerce market is estimated to reach NT$200 billion, he said.

Donald Lu (呂文瑞), executive vice president of TAITRA, said that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should remember the Internet market was easy to get into, but very competitive.

SMEs not only need the right Internet marketing strategy, but also need to focus on long-term operation, he said.

Lu said that the content and style of Web sites are key to attracting potential shoppers. If a firm's online marketing lacks an organized approach, it was easy to fall into a trap by just trying to copy other sites, Lu said.

With the ever growing number of Web sites, "the question to ask is how to market your company and product precisely in this mass market," Lu said.

WORDS OF EXPERIENCE

TAITRA officials and a representative from Google said that businesses should take full advantage of the B2B e-commerce platforms, as these are the most cost-saving and efficient way.

Google's business operation manager Chang Ke (張科) and Business Next magazine editor-in-chief Wang Chi-ren (王志仁) discussed their firms' Internet marketing strategy and value with local entrepreneurs at the press conference.

The Internet penetration rate worldwide is around 16.6 percent and the penetration rates in developed countries such as the US, Japan, South Korea and Germany are over 60 percent, Liao said.

However, up-and-coming developed countries such as China only have a penetration rate of 10.2 percent, while India's penetration rate is only 2.3 percent, he said.

"These new markets are opportunities which Taiwanese SMEs can tap," Liao said.

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