Still recovering and rebuilding from the Asian economic crisis, countries in that region have identified e-commerce as the next catalyst of change, with 70 per cent of CEO's claiming in a PricewaterhouseCooper survey that e-commerce would radically transform their business.
CEOs questioned anticipated the next five years would prove difficult if they did not change the way they did business with 50 per cent believing they faced significant competition from companies approaching customers through e-mail and the Web. Differentiating factors they identified include more efficient ways to service existing customers, gaining new customers, dealing with suppliers more productively, reducing operational costs and recruiting employees.
Apparently the majority of the 802 CEOs surveyed are reacting to the challenge of not being left behind in the surge towards an electronic market and are expecting that 10 to 20 per cent of their bottom line will come from e-commerce in the next three years.
This is in comparison to US and European predictions that 10 per cent of that region's business will be electronic in the next five years, contradicting the Asian CEOs' view that the US would have a one-year lead in establishing its e-commerce markets.
Obviously the practicalities of fulfilling these predictions are not as simple. Asian business leaders identified several key challenges in matching the reality to the figures, including privacy protection, security issues and dispute resolution. These specific problems are additional to the general perception that Internet technology is disruptive and initially expensive for those implementing it.