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The e-Commerce Survey 2000 Unveiled

Lim Swee Say, Acting Minister for Environment and Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology - Speech, eAwards 2001, Raffles City Convention Centre

Lim Swee Say, Acting Minister for Environment and Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology - Speech, eAwards 2001, Raffles City Convention Centre

Singapore, 9 May 2001

1 We are here this evening to recognise the achievements and success of this year's eAwards winners. They are selected for these awards because of their ability to transform their businesses in keeping with the emergence of the New Economy. They are innovative. They are enterprising. They are the pace-setters in our business community.
2 We are impressed by their willingness to take risks with promising business models in a creative yet down to earth manner. We are also impressed by their ability to harness technology effectively, to be one step ahead of the competition, to achieve global reach, higher productivity and lower operating costs.

3 But most of all, we are impressed by the fact that they forged ahead with new and untried ideas at a time when many companies and individuals were doubtful of the real and tangible benefits of e-Business and e-Commerce. They were not disheartened by the bursting of the bubble. They could see the clear difference between a hi-tech hype brewing in the stock market versus a structural change occurring in the global economy. They stayed focused, they forged ahead while many others hesitated. In fact, some of them have scaled back their online activities. What they have achieved is a clear reflection that the e-Revolution is still very much alive today.

4 Indeed, the Internet remains a powerful business tool for businesses to transcend physical boundaries and limitations, and to explore new frontiers. In a survey conducted by the IDA and DOS (43.00KB), we continue to see a growing trend towards the e-Economy. This evening, I would like to share with you a few highlights of the survey findings.

5 On the whole, more companies were engaging in e-Commerce last year compared to the year before. Out of every 100 companies adopting e-Commerce in Year 2000, 24 started e-Commerce in the same year. In other words, the number of companies adopting e-Commerce grew by about 30% last year. Even though this is a sharp drop from 130% in 1999, the growth rate of 30% is encouraging, bearing in mind the bigger user base and the overall market sentiment towards e-Commerce.

6 Within the business community, the total value of B2B e-Commerce transaction is estimated to have more than doubled from $40 billion in 1999 to reach $92 billion in this year. This is an increase of about 130%. We saw healthy growth in B2B transaction value across all major sectors of the economy. The only exception was the hotel and restaurant sector that registered a decline of 24%. The sector with highest transaction value of about $52 billion last year was the Finance & Banking sector, whereas the sector with highest growth rate last year was the transport, storage and communication sector with an increase of 265%

7 As for the consumer sector, more Singaporeans are going online and adopting an e-lifestyle. The survey revealed that the total value of B2C e-Commerce has increased from about $200 million in 1999 to an estimated $1.17 billion last year. This is an increase of 485%, almost a five times increase.

8 The growth in B2C e-Commerce is led by the Finance and Banking sector in Singapore, accounting for about 80% of the B2C transaction value. The other key sectors are Real Estate and Businesses, Manufacturing, and the hotels and restaurants. Two other sectors, namely the transport, storage and communication sector and the wholesale and retail sector, though still small in B2C sales values, have both registered very strong growth of seven times and two and a half times respectively.

9 Last but not least, we are also seeing some promising signs of Singapore becoming a trusted e-Commerce Hub in Asia Pacific. More companies are now using Singapore as a base to reach out to overseas customers as reflected by the increase in cross-border B2B e-Commerce, from $15 billion in 1999 to nearly $40 billion last year. The key markets were Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, China, South Korea and Japan.

10 The same growth trend applies to B2C e-Commerce as well. Last year, more than half of the total B2C sales transacted in Singapore were generated by consumers in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, United States and Japan.

11 We are encouraged by t he findings from this survey. Even though the dot-com euphoria may have fizzled out, the efforts of our economic agencies and business bodies in encouraging brick-and-mortar companies to transform into click-and-mortar companies in the New Economy are very much on track in Singapore.

12 We need to press on because there is still much more we need to do as we transform ourselves into a Knowledge-Based Economy and Innovation-Driven Society. We need to strive for widespread adoption of e-Commerce in our economy and society. We also need to speed up the pace of innovation in e-Commerce with wireless technology and broadband Internet. By constantly challenging ourselves and re-inventing ourselves, we can evolve with the global e-Economy, and be an early adopter in the e-Revolution.

13 Our winners tonight are innovative leaders in e-Marketing, e-Distribution, e-Banking, e-Finance and e-Insurance. They are our role models. Let us all learn from them and be inspired by them. I hope that many more companies, big and small, will embark on the journey of digital transformation. I hope they will do so now, because in this fast changing era of the New Economy, time is not a luxury.

In closing, I offer my heartiest congratulations to all the award winners, and I wish everyone of you here a most pleasant evening.

Thank you.