Online exports expected to soar

Online exports expected to soar

Global online exports will surge to $US1.4 trillion in 2004, with cross-border e-marketplace trade surpassing $400 billion.

These are the latest figures being flouted in a recent report by Forrester Research, however, cross-border trade will not flow equally among nations. Forrester analysts believe that a dramatic split will emerge between countries that actively export and import using the Internet and those that don't.

Forrester projections pit Western Europe as the world leader in global online exports, reaching $692 billion by 2004 driven by Germany's $144 billion in cross-border sales. At the same time, North America will see more than 23 per cent of its exports move online. Asia-Pacific, fuelled by $57 billion in Japanese online exports, will reach $219 billion within four years.

Across the board, Forrester says that by 2004 global e-marketplace trade will reach $408 billion. More than half of this figure will be contributed by Western European petrochemical exports - a staggering $215 billion.

Asia-Pacific exports through online markets will reach $50 billion, driven by sales to North American firms.

"Online trade will expand globally as firms use the Internet to attack inefficiencies in today's international trade practices," says Matthew Sanders, Forrester research analyst.

The boom in online sales will relegate countries to e-business extrovert or e-business introvert status based on their Internet adoption. Forrester says national policies remain critically important to which side of the fence countries fall on.

"e-business introverts shouldn't just give up. They can accelerate their e-business positioning by adjusting policies and targeting technology infrastructure investments," says Bruce Temkin, research director at Forrester.

"e-marketplace trade will ultimately disrupt many of today's global trading patterns," says Temkin. "To determine the impact of this shift, we created the eMarketplace Export Index (eMEI) which rates the potential for export gains from the growth of global eMarketplace trade."

"Countries with an above-average eMEI like Canada, the US and Belgium/Luxemburg will see the expansion of their collective online exports hit hypergrowth in 2001. On the other hand, the adoption of online exports in nations with a below-average eMEI like China, Hong Kong and Japan won't hit hypergrowth until 2003."

In the end, Forrester believes it will fall on 19 countries - the e-business extroverts - to dominate online international trade. Led by Canada, Norway and Denmark, these extroverts will represent more than 80 per cent of online imports and exports.

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