e-Commerce is already big in many countries around the world. In this post, I am going to write about the top ten e-Commerce companies in the world today. In October last year, Hamburg based market intelligence organization yStats.com published a report titled “The World’s Leading E-Commerce Companies 2014” which contained a list of top ten e-Commerce companies in terms of revenue. For the readers of ecombd.net.
Amazon.com is the largest internet-based retailer in the U.S. The company was established in 1994. Initially it sold books online. In January this year, Amazon posted financial results of last quarter. The company had a “higher-than-expected net income” but sales did not grow as expected. The company saw a 15% rise in sales in the Christmas. Net profit was $214 million. Not very impressive but far better than the 3rd quarter when Amazon made a net loss of $437 million. Overall, the company posted a loss of $241 billion as a whole.
JD.com or Jingdong Mall is the second largest e-Commerce companies in China after Alibaba. It was established by Liu Qiangdong aka Richard Liu in July 1998. The company launched its online sales operation in 2004. As of 2014, the company has a 54.3% market share in China. In order to supply products to its customers on time, JD.com maintains 97warehouses with a floor area of approximately 1.8 million square meters, 1,808 delivery stations and 715 pickup stations across China. As of July 2014, the company had 62,061 full-time employees. In its recent effort to diversify its business, the company partnered with the food producers in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Chile, France and New Zealand.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Established by Sam Walton in 1962, Wal-Mart is the largest retail chain operator in the world. It is also one of the top buyers of Bangladesh’s readymade garments products. The company reported a 12% increase its profit in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year. The company earned $4.97 billion compared to $4.43 billion in the same quarter previous year. Overall revenue stood at $131.57 billion an increase of 1.4% compared to last year. The hike in holiday season sales can be contribute to the lower price of gas and recovering economy. Recently, the company announced to increase its lowest wage to $9 an hour for its half million workers in USA.
Founded by Pierre Omidyar in 1995, eBay Inc. is another top earning e-Commerce website. The last year was not so good the company. In the fourth quarter, the company’s net income was $936 million, a 10% rise from $850 million in the same quarter last year. Revenue rose 9% to $4.9 billion. In the current quarter the company forecast revenue was $4.35 billion to $4.45 billion falling below Wall Street analysts’ prediction of $4.7 billion. Due to poor business the company announced to lay off 2,400 jobs; 7% of its current workforce. eBay also decided to split up its online payment gateway brand PayPal and make it and independent business.
The Otto Group is a German company. Established in 1949, the company currently has 123 companies with more than 50,000 employees. It is the largest mail order company in the world. The company started its online business in 1995. e-Commerce is currently the fastest growing sales channel of the company generating 60% of its total sales. Otto group is the world’s second-largest online retailer and the largest online retailer of fashion and lifestyle products in Europe. The company is planning to invest 300 million Euros within this year in online retail. However, the company is facing increasing competition from Amazon.com. In 2013, Amzon’s average operating margin on worldwide sales was 0.9% while Otto’s was 6%.
Alibaba Group Holding Limited
Alibaba Group Holding Limited is the largest e-Commerce site in China. It was founded by Jack Ma, a former English teacher from Hangzhou China. He established the company with a goal to further improve the capability of the small businesses through internet. Today, Alibaba is the largest e-Commerce company in China and one of the largest in the world. Its e-Commerce business is more than Amazon and eBay combined and the company is still growing. In November last year, on Singles’ Day the company sold more than $9billion. Yet, in the December quarter the company’s revenue fell short of analysts’ estimates. The average analyst estimate was $4.45 billion against Alibaba’s $4.22 billion.
Cnova N.V is a French e-Commerce company and one of the largests in the world. It has operations in Brazil, France, Colombia, Ecuador, Thailand, Vietnam, Ivory Coast, Belgium, Senegal and Cameroon, Cnova covering 530 million people. As of 2013, the company had a gross merchandise volume of U.S $4.9 billion. In Brazil and France, the company operates under sites like Extra.com.br, Pontofrio.com, Casasbahia.com.br, Comptoirsante.com, Moncornerdeco.com, Monshowroom.com, Barateiro.com.br. It also has B2B solutions such a eHub, an e-Commerce platform solution for third parties. Last year, the company online sales stood at $4.01 billion a 19.8% rise from 2013. Overall sales combining online and gross merchandise value was $5.22 billion.
Tesco PLC is a British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer. The company was founded by Jack Cohen. The company currently operates more than 3,300 stores across the UK. The company is undergoing a tough period. Last year, the company’s name came up in an accounting scandal. Poor sales was another big company. In July last year, Dave Lewis was appointed CEO. Earlier this year, under his leadership, Tesco announced to shut 43 unprofitable stores across the UK. He also halted plans to open up 49 new stores.
Established in 1997 Rakuten is the largest e-Commerce site of Japan(www.rakuten.co.jp, www.rakuten.com). In the last quarter of 2014, the company performed well. The company’s fourth quarter profit rose 73% with an operating profit of 33.3 billion yen. Last year the company also observed 14% increase in domestic e-Commerce gross merchandise sales to $16.5billion. In order to boost its business, Rakuten is now focusing on smartphone users. At present smartphone transactions account for 44% of gross merchandise sales. However, there is huge challenge ahead. 90% of the Rakuten’s business is based in Japan and shrinking population is affecting consumer spending. Hence, it is now planning to spread its business outside the country.
Best Buy Co.:
Best Buy Co. is retail outlet selling consumer electronic goods. A traditional brick and mortar store, it also has its online business. In the holiday season of 2014, the company observed a 13.4% rise in online sales compared to store sales. It is now reconsidering to improve its online business. Best Buy’s holiday sales was $11.4 billion in U.S. Large screen TVs and mobile phones were the most popular product. Despite good sales, the company announced that this year there would not be much sales growth.
The press conference of e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) took place today (November 8, 2014) at 4 p.m. at the V I P Lounge of National Press Club. The association has been established to ensure the growth of the e-Commerce sector in Bangladesh. Members of Advisory Council, Executive Committee and Standing Committee as well as owners and high officials of different e-Commerce companies and members of the print and electronic media were present at the event. N I Khan, Honorable Secretary Ministry of Education was present at the press conference. He expressed his strong support towards the e-Commerce industry of the country.
Mr. N I Khan said, “It is needless to elaborate the importance of e-Commerce in the present day world. Our government is devoted to build Digital Bangladesh and e-Commerce will play an important role in this regard. We must work together to spread the blessings of e-Commerce in 64 districts and 68,000 villages of Bangladesh.”
e-CAB’s Vice President, Syeda Gulshan Ferdous, delivered the welcome speech. She stated about the background and necessity of forming an association in e-Commerce sector. She said, “It is the Asian decade of e-Commerce and Bangladesh simply cannot ignore it. We have formed e-CAB to ensure positive and healthy growth for this sector. So far, more than 50 companies from Dhaka, Sylhet and Chittagong have joined our organization.”
Razib Ahmed, President, e-CAB delivered keynote speech where he elaborated the visions, objectives and activities of e-CAB and other aspects. He said, “All of us have a common dream, a beautiful dream which brought us together and inspired us to establish e-CAB. We want to build a Bangladesh where rural people will be able to buy products and services online.”
Md. Abdul Wahed Tomal, General Secretary, thanked everyone for attending the press conference and showing their support towards e-CAB. He said, “We want e-CAB to become an association that will work as a representative for the numerous e-Commerce businesses that are out there.”
Other members of e-CAB- Mir Sahed Ali, Joint Secretary; Mohammad Abdul Haque, Finance Secretary; Rezwanul Haque Jami, Director (Government Affairs); Shezan Shams, Director (Corporate Affairs); Sumon Howlader, Director (International Affairs); and Asif Ahnaf, Director (Communication)- also shared their thoughts and ideas with the audience and asked for their support.
At present, there are several hundred e-Commerce companies in Bangladesh. In addition, there are more than two thousand individuals and organizations selling products and services via Facebook page.
Lack of necessary policy, regulations and infrastructure, hindered the growth of e-Commerce in Bangladesh. Seamless and secure online transaction is yet to be established.
Most of the e-Commerce organizations use ‘cash-on-delivery’ as the preferred payment method, which is hindering the growth of the payment processing and secure payment methods; thus giving rise to unbanked transaction, contrary to the government’s goals. e-Cab wants to address these issues. Online fraud is another big problem. There are no associations or organizations or proper laws to deal with online fraud. Delivery of products and services is by far the biggest challenge for e-Commerce organizations. Though the country has a vibrant local parcel service sector, distribution of costly items in urban and pan-urban areas in single pieces is all but non-existent in an economic form. It is expected that e-CAB will play an effective role for e-Commerce sector in Bangladesh by addressing these pressing issues
e-CAB will focus on seven areas- online shops, e-Payment and transaction, e-Security, e-Commerce awareness and training, e-Commerce policy and guideline, delivery service, and e-Services.
In order to achieve its goals, e-CAB formed twenty standing committees that will work on different aspects of e-Commerce. They are- e-Commerce Policy & Guideline, e-Payment & Transaction, Compliance & Fraud Management, International Trade, Rural e-Commerce, Entrepreneurship Development, Government Affairs, e-Commerce Awareness, e-Security, e-Banking & Mobile Commerce, Facebook Commerce (F-Commerce), Digital Content, Delivery Service, Digital Marketing, Media & Communication, Quality Improvement, Women in e-Commerce, Affiliate Marketing, e-Tourism & Travel, and Telemedicine and e-Health.
Website of e-CAB: http://www.e-cab.net/
From September 25 to September 27 Dhaka E-commerce Fair 2014 is going to be held at Sufia Kamal Public Library premise. In order to inform the media about the fair a press conference was organized on September 23, 2014 at 10 a.m. at the Sagar Rooney Auditorium in Dhaka Reporters Unity. At the press conference the organizers informed the media about different features of the upcoming fair. The slogan of this year’s fair is “Business at your click.”
Md. Abdul Wahed Tomal, Technical Editor, Computer Jagat and convener of the Dhaka E-commerce Fair 2014 welcomed the journalists. He said, “Computer Jagat, since its inception, has been taking a wide range of initiatives for the development of the ICT sector of Bangladesh. Since February 2013, we have been organizing E-commerce fairs whose soul aim is to ensure development of the E-commerce sector. The Dhaka E-commerce Fair 2014 will add another feather to our crown of success. This fair is also special to us for another reason. During the fair, we are going to bring out E-commerce Directory. It will be the first directory on Bangladeshi E-commerce sector. The directory will contain valuable information about E-commerce companies and companies involved with this sector. I strongly believe that this directory will go a long way in promoting the Bangladeshi E-commerce sector.
Muhammad Abdul Haque, Assistant Editor, Computer Jagat said, “E-commerce is already popular in Bangladesh. If you notice carefully, you would see that online shopping during Eid festival increased significantly in the last couple of years. This year lots people also shopped online during Eid. It is clear that with proper guidance, support from the government and concerned organizations E-commerce could become as big as the RMG sector, contributing to the economy and creating jobs for thousands of educated young people in the country. Youth of the country is the driving force behind the E-commerce sector. Most of the E-commerce companies that are operating in the country today are set up by young people. Through E-commerce Fair we try to present the efforts of these youngsters to a large audience. At the same time, we make sure that this fair serves as a platform bringing together people from government and private sector and encourage them to exchange opinions and ideas and open up new opportunities in the E-commerce sector.”
Among others, Arild Klokkerhaug, Director, Ekhanei.com (www.ekhanei.com) was present at the press conference. He said, “E-commerce sector cannot be ignored any more in Bangladesh. I thank Computer Jagat for taking the initiative to organize E-commerce Fair. I strongly believe that E-commerce will grow at a faster rate in the country.”
Mina Parveen, Project Director (Joint Secretary), Tottho Apa: Empowering Women through ICT Towards Digital Bangladesh, Jatiya Mohila Sangstha said, “E-commerce Fair played a critical role in spreading awareness about E-commerce among the people of Bangladesh. Jatiya Mohila Sangstha works to empower women and ensure their development. The biggest challenge, every female entrepreneur of our country face is to promote and market their products. E-commerce can be a blessing in disguise for female entrepreneurs.”
Mohammad Abdur Rouf, COO, Aarong said, “E-commerce has a bright future in our country. Understanding the immense potential of E-commerce we launched our online store during the Ramadan Eid of 2014. I am very happy to say that from day one we received great response from our visitors especially, non-residential Bangladeshis. E-commerce companies must provide quality products to the consumers and should earn their trust.”
Razib Ahmed, Editor, Ecombd.net (A blog on E-commerce in Bangladesh) said, “ More than half of our population lives in village. We must spread E-commerce in rural areas. Spreading the blessings of E-commerce in villages will be our biggest challenge.”
Nasrul Hamid, MP, Honorable State Minister, Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources will inaugurate the fair on September 25 2014 at 10 a.m.
On the first day of the fair, Jatiya Mohila Sangstha will inaugurate the website of project “Tottho Apa.”
An Award Night will be held at 7 p.m. in the evening on September 25, 2014. Computer Jagat will honor 16 persons for their contribution in the ICT/ITES sector of the country in 2013.
This year, many E-commerce companies are going to showcase their products and services in the fair. There will be Gigabyte gaming zone. Six seminars on E-commerce will be held at the fair. “Electronic Banking Services paved the way for E-commerce in the country” by Bangladesh Bank; “Local E-commerce and Upcoming Bangladesh Market” byG&R Ad Network; “The Progress of Mobile Apps and Games in Bangladesh” by Reverie Corporation Ltd.; E-commerce Beginning and Continuation” by BDOSN; “ICT for Youth Entrepreneurship & Innovation” by Dhrubotara; and “Preparation of Bangladesh for the bright future of E-commerce-Where we stand?” by SSL Commerz.
Department of Public Libraries under the Ministry of Cultural Affairs is supervising the fair. Ekhanei.com, the popular classified website of the country and Tottho Apa are platinum sponsors. Team Engine and WebTV next are gold sponsor and Aarong is silver sponsor.
The Daily star, Jatiya Mohila Sangstha (JMS) and Gigabyte are partners of the fair. Blog partner is Somewhere in…Blog, web partner Banglanews24.com, radio partner DhakaFM, TV partner Channel 71, Internet partner Dhakacom Ltd, advertisement partner G&R Ad Network, security partner Avira, apps partner Reverie Corporation, knowledge partner BDoSN, logistic partner Dhrubotara, online promotion partner Infinite Output, and courier partner Sonar Courier.
Exhibitors include Bangladesh Bank, SSL COMMERZ, Bank Asia, E-Sufiana, Surjomukhi.com, Jemonkhushi.com, Sonar Courier service Ltd., The Codero Ltd., Busbd.com, Semicon Private Limited, Micro Parts USA Limited/Webroot, T-Zone, Avira, Aponzone.com, Reverie Corporation, Dhrubotara, BDOSN, Adhuna, Online Kenakata, Apshora.com, Etcetra, Nijol Creative, Bijoy digital, Shopping24bd.com, Utshobbd, Craftic Arts, Your Trip Mate, Inpacebazar.com, Nufa Entertainment, Dhaka Pixel, Shohoj.com, Ekhanei.com, Tottho Apa, Aarong, and Tech World.
The fair will start from 10:00 a.m. and continue till 8:00 p.m at night. It is open for everyone. For any information about the fair, visit:
When it comes to e-commerce, it is natural the names of rich and developed countries like USA, UK, Germany etc comes. After all, they have high level of per capita income, high speed Internet and penetration of Internet and mobile phone usage and even ratio of smartphone usage and finally modern financial sector. They should dominate this sector and perhaps they have done it until now very strongly. Well, things are changing and the time of Asia is coming. In fact, this 2010s decade is going to be the Asian decade in e-commerce.
Difficulties of finding authentic stats
While writing this article, one of the major problems that I faced was lack of authentic statistics about the market size and other information of e-commerce sector in different Asian countries. In different websites and blogs, different stats can be found about the same country. Let us hope that there will be someday in near future this issue will be addressed. In this article, I have tried to mention the sources from which I have obtained information.
China has either already become the largest market in e-commerce sector in the world or will do so either by this year or maximum, by next year (2015). It is indeed a huge market with a huge population. The good thing about China is that people love Internet and because of increasing popularity of smartphones, m-commerce is also expanding very rapidly.
Within the next few years, both e-commerce and m-commerce markets will reach to a saturation point and they will not witness high growth on year to year basis. However, because of the fact that still many people live in rural areas and do not own a computer and smartphone, the market will continue to grow for the next 10 years at least.
In near future, I wish to write a long entry or a series of entries about the Chinese e-commerce sector. Here are some interesting stats about this sector in China:
Alibaba is the dominant market player in e-commerce sector of China.
“At the end of 2013 the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) reported that 81% of Chinese internet users access the internet using a mobile device. In 2012 this figure stood at 74.5%.” Source: Five important ecommerce trends in China during 2014
Since 2009, e-commerce sector has seen annual growth of around 70%.
There is really tremendous growth opportunity for Indian market. Amazon India and Flipkart are the two market leaders. However, there are some other significant players too. The main problem is low penetration of Internet, high level of poverty and lower per capita income compared to China and much lower market size compared to its huge population. The market size was around US $16 billion in 2013. With all these limitations and problems, India offers a huge opportunity for doing business in e-commerce field. So, I am expecting all the major players like Amazon to make the best out of it in the next one decade.
Japan has the richest economy in Asia. It has very high level of Internet penetration and mobile phone usage. It has the highest amount of per capita spending online in Asia and second in the world (after USA). Rakuten is the market leader in this field in this Asian country.
Twitter and Facebook are very popular among ordinary people. Most of all, Japanese people are tech savy and love new gadgets. So, all the right things are there. The only challenge is that the people in the country are not fan of websites on other languages except their own native Japanese. Still, the country has huge potential for growth as number of Internet users is going to hit 100 million in the next 4 years.
We all know that South Korean people are simply addicted to Internet. They have very high speed Internet connection- perhaps the fastest internet on earth. They also have online gaming league even. So, it is not surprising at all that Korea has a vibrant e-commerce industry that has attractive market opportunity even for foreign companies too. Korean people browse not only their websites but spend heavily on Chinese e-commerce websites too.
Taiwan also has high speed internet, high level of mobile usage, smartphones, highly educated and tech savy people who love internet. So, it is no wonder that this country has a booming e-commerce market with 20% annual growth. From a report:
Taiwan’s e-commerce market is expected to reach NT$1 trillion (US$33.7 billion) by 2015 and will soon take over half of the local retail market, estimated at NT$4 trillion yearly, said Jacky Wang, head of Yahoo Taiwan’s e-commerce group.
Growing at an annual rate of some 20 percent, Taiwan’s e-commerce transactions totaled NT$767.3 billion in 2013, Wang said, citing statistics.
The stats say it all.
Malaysian economy is an Asian success story. According to a research report:
Nearly 20 million people are connected to the Internet in Malaysia, and another five million are expected to go online next year. A high double-digit percentage of Internet users in Malaysia shop online, motivated by price advantages, product range and availability of reviews. Malaysian shoppers look for free shipping, convenience and exclusive online deals offered by online stores. Moreover, online shopping is encouraged by new E-Commerce regulations adopted in 2013, aimed at protecting consumer rights and preventing online fraud.
Malaysia has huge opportunity for growth in this field and the government of the country is surely looking for foreign investments.
Singapore has very high per capita income compared to most Asian countries. It has embraced ICT long ago and has very usage of mobile phone, smart phone and Internet and Internet through mobile phone. Literacy rate is very high and most people use English language too in their day to day life. Still, the country not showed enough success in e-commerce. That may change from this year. You can read this:
Vietnam is going to have its own version of Black Friday this December. Well, it is more like Cyber Monday. Anyway, Vietnam is going to officially celebrate Online Shopping Day on 5 December 2014.
From a website report:
At the launch ceremony on August 8, Tran Huu Linh, Head of the E-Commerce Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that hundreds of businesses are expected to get involved in the programme.
Linh added the country has around 120,000 businesses which own online shopping websites. Despite the huge number of websites, consumers have encountered a number of hindrances as they are unfamiliar with shopping online procedures.
Therefore, the online shopping day is established to develop e-commerce services effectively.
Middle East huge potential for growth in e-commerce as some of the countries have very high per capita income. However, many people still do not have the habit of buying online and that seems to be an obstacle. Still, the e-commerce market is growing.
Gulf Times wrote:
E-commerce sales in the Middle East are expected to touch $15 billion by 2015, up from $9 billion in 2012, according to a report by payment solutions provider Payfort.
There are around 4.43 million online buyers in the region spread across countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait, the report released during the ArabNet said.
The UAE has around 3.6 million e-commerce customers with the lion’s share of them in Dubai, and 27 per cent are in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
Almost 60 per cent of e-commerce customers said that competitive pricing and better deals were the motivator to shop online while 56 per cent cited convenience.
Another big challenge is that fact that not many local companies are coming to this sector. An industry can grow when there are many players.
I could not find much information about e-commerce in Central Asia. However, close proximity to Russia and China is a key factor for the countries in this region.
The Times of Central Asia wrote:
Experts predict that by the end of 2015 the volume of e-commerce market in Kazakhstan may reach $3.6 billion or 4 percent of the total retail market, the official website of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported citing Mirbolat Ayupov, the chairman of the National Info-Communications Holding Zerde.
In 2013 the volume of e-commerce market reached $450 million-$600 million, which is about 2 percent of the total retail market.
From another website about Armenia:
In 2012, total e-commerce transactions in Armenia amounted to $8.6 million, composing only 0.08% of GDP. Though it is higher than some of its neighbors1 it lags behind other countries in the region including Iran and Turkey where e-commerce transactions reached $1 billion and $162 million, respectively.
I have already mentioned about India earlier in this post. As for other countries in Asia, Bangladesh government is now trying to speed up things in this field in the country. Online market places and classified websites are becoming very popular. There are now several hundred e-commerce websites. Facebook commerce is also becoming popular.
Pakistan is also a growing market in this field. From a Pakistani newspaper:
Pakistan is one of the fastest emerging e-commerce markets in the region.
The level of trust global online groups are showing in the talents of the Pakistani youth and the e-commerce industry here suggests that, in the near future, it is likely to hold a significant share in Pakistan’s economy.
Sri Lanka has the highest literacy rate in South Asia. The country has now peace after many years of civil war.
The future looks to be very bright for Asian e-commerce industry. China is heading towards saturation, India has a lot to offer growth. Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia together have a market size of half billion people. Still many people do not have access to Internet in this continent. The number of smart phone is growing but there is still a lot of room for growth.
Then there is the challenge of winning the heart and mind of people about buying things online. Many people are worried about fraud and safety of their credit cards. This is indeed a big challenge. We also need some Asian success stories in e-commerce. Another big challenge is the lack of good quality courier service at an affordable price.
All the governments in this country should work together and join hands to promote e-commerce across the continent. E-commerce can truly transform the lives of millions of people in Asia. It is time that we take it seriously.
Once again, e-Commerce Fair is going to be held in Dhaka. Computer Jagat, the leading ICT magazine of Bangladesh, is going to organize the three-day fair at Begum Sufia Kamal National Public Library, shahbag, Dhaka from September 25 to 27.
Local e-Commerce companies are going to showcase their products and services at the fair. Along with exhibition, there will be seminar, workshop, publish e-Directory, award night and gaming contest.
In order to inform the mass media about the fair, Computer Jagat, organized a press conference at the National Press Club Dhaka. At the conference, the organizers informed the journalists and guests about different aspects of the Dhaka e-Commerce Fair and exchanged opinions.
Md. Abdul Wahed Tomal, convener of the Dhaka e-Commerce Fair 2014 said, The popularity of e-Commerce is growing day-by-day in Bangladesh. Currently, there are more than 30 million Internet users in the country and majority of them are youngsters. They are very enthusiastic about Internet and computer. Many young people in our country are becoming e-Commerce entrepreneurs and earning money instead doing regular 9-to-5 jobs and many of these companies are successful. At present, there are few hundred small, medium and big e-Commerce organizations. Around two thousand companies are doing business through Facebook.
Mohammad Abdul Haque, Assistant Editor, Computer Jagat, said, According to the latest report published in daily newspaper, online shopping crossed Taka 4 billion in 2104 Ramadan Eid. 75% of the shopping took place at Dhaka while the rest in Chittagong, Khulna, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Barisal, Bogra and other districts of the country. It is now clear that e-Commerce is here to stay. It has a bright future in Bangladesh. In order to ensure further growth in this sector and to increase awareness and enthusiasm about e-Commerce among people, we are organizing the Dhaka e-Commerce Fair 2014.
At the conference, Md. Siddiqur Rahman, director, marketing and seals of BUSBD.COM (www.busbd.com) said that his company has been selling bus tickets online since 2012. Currently, the company is selling tickets of twenty bus companies. During the recent Ramadan Eid, the company sold 20 thousands of tickets. Mr. Rahman highly praised Computer Jagat’s endeavor and said that Dhaka E-commerce Fair 2014 will play a great role in spreading words about his organization among the people of the country.
Business Development Manager of Computer Jagat, Atiqur Rahman, said, E-commerce is now at its peak in Europe. e-Commerce spread so rapidly among the European countries and it became very popular. Traditional brick and mortar stores are under major pressure due to the rise of E-commerce. The future of the e-Commerce sector of Bangladesh is bright. The early E-commerce fairs attracted thousands of visitors. The Dhaka e-Commerce Fair 2014 will be highly successful.
Bangladeshi E-commerce blog Ecombd (www.ecombd.net ) editor Razib Ahmed said, Current decade will see the rise of E-commerce in Asian countries. By 2015, China’s E-commerce market will amount to $540 million; higher than that of USA. Our neighboring country India is also seeing a rapid rise in E-commerce. He said that E-commerce is a booming market in the country.
SSLWireless Senior Manager (Business Development) Jubaer Hossain said that e-Commerce has huge potential in Bangladesh but in order to explore the potential we need to work together. He said SSL Commerz has been with Computer Jagat since the first e-Commerce fair and they will participate in the Dhaka E-commerce Fair 2014.
Renowned ICT personalities and people related to Bangladeshi e-Commerce industry are going to deliver key-note speeches in these seminars. The Daily Starand team engine are our partners. Furthermore ekattor tv is the TV-partner, dhaka FM is the radio partner, BanglaNews24.com is the web-partner, Gigabyte is the gaming partner and dhakacom ltd. is the internet partner. An award night will also be organized where renowned ICT personalities and the ICT personality of the year will be awarded for their contributions in the ICT sector of Bangladesh.
Last year, Computer Jagat started organizing e-Commerce Fair in order to spread awareness among people about e-Commerce and promote the products and services of the Bangladeshi e-Commerce companies. The first e-Commerce Fair was organized at Begum Sufia Kamal National Public Library in February, 2013 and become immensely successful. Following the Dhaka fair, two more e-Commerce fairs were organized in Chittagong and Sylhet. After having success of all these fairs, for the first time, Computer Jagat organized international fair on Bangladeshi e-Commerce sector. The UK-Bangladesh e-Commerce Fair was held at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel London. The London fair attracted large number of visitors. Earlier this year, the fifth e-Commerce Fair was organized in Barishal in May.
Organizers are hoping that the Dhaka e-Commerce Fair 2014 will attract large number of visitors. There is no entry fees for the visitor in the fair and there is no registration charge applied for the participants in the seminars.
Mohammad Ahetesham Uddin88
Coordinator- e-Commerce fair
e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
E-commerce is already quite popular in Bangladesh and it is only increasing. Compared to other countries of the world, E-commerce came at a later stage in our country but it grew very quickly.
E-commerce or Electronic Commerce is closely related to computer and Internet. If we have to talk about the history of E-commerce in Bangladesh then we also have to talk about the history of computer and Internet this region. In 1853, the British established telegraph service in India. After one hundred year Pakistan Telegraph and Telephone board was established. Radio came to Bangladesh in 1939. Television came in 1964 and Bangladesh got its first computer that same year. Atomic Energy Commission of Bangladesh brought the first mainframe computer IBM-1620. This model had transistor, magnetic disk and magnetic core.
Bangladesh Agricultural University was the first educational institution in the country to use and Radio Shack TRS-80 64K model computer. The model is still preserved in Agriculture Museum. Still then, the use of computer was very limited because of large size and higher cost.
Computer started to become popular in the late 1980s. The printing and publication industry embraced this technology. Publication cost decreased significantly.
Rise of computer in the 90s:
Throughout the 90s, use of computer only grew. Some of the major milestones of this decade were:
- Internet came to Bangladesh in 1993. Initially, it was Unix-to-Unix Copy Protocol (UUCP) e-mail. They were replaced by Internet Protocol accounts in 1996. In June, 1996 the government decided to allow private companies to act as Internet Services Providers (ISPs) using VSATs.
- From 1996, Computer was also being introduced as a subject in secondary level education. Subjects like Computer Science, Computer Engineering became very popular. In addition, numerous organizations were offering short courses or one year diploma course.
- In 1998, the then government of Bangladesh removed all types of tax and duty from computer.
Bangladesh Computer Council and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics conducted a survey which revealed that there 780000 PCs in the country by the end of 1998 with more than 120,000 licensed software. Dhaka had the highest concentration of computer (72%).
Arrival of mobile phone:
Mobile phone came into the country in the 90s. Sheba Telecom was the first Mobile phone service provider but the service was very expensive. In 1997, Grameenphone introduced affordable mobile service. Since then the usage of mobile only continued to grow.
Beginning of E-commerce in Bangladesh:
E-commerce started in Bangladesh in the late 90s. The earlier E-commerce sites were actually gift sites targeted towards the Non-Residential-Bangladeshis (NRB) living in abroad. All the sites were based in abroad and had branches in Bangladesh. NRBs would buy various products for their families or loved ones and pay in credit card. The site would then deliver the product to their family or friend in Bangladesh.
From 2000 to 2008 the E-commerce sector observed slow growth. There were few E-commerce websites but there were no system for online transaction which is the first condition for E-commerce. In addition, high cost of Internet and lower penetration meant that few people knew about these sites. According to Bangladesh Bank, payments and transactions by credit cards were nearly Tk11 billion in June 2008; one of the lowests in the world.
The country had only about 400,000 credit card holders at the end of June 2009. From 2008, things started to look bright as Bangladesh Bank took various initiatives including implementation of e-Payment Gateway.
Bangladesh Bank opening up E-commerce sector:
The real change came in 2009 when Bangladesh Bank allowed online payment in the country thus, officially opening up the E-commerce sector. In November that year, Bangladesh Bank issued a circular where it gave permission for following types of online transaction in the country:
• Online utility bill payment from client’s accounts to recipient’s accounts.
• Online money transfer from online of a client to his/her another account in the same bank
• Collection of money from/to buyer’s bank account to seller’s bank account for Purchase/sale of products under e-commerce system transaction via internet using credit cards in local currency.
Another major incident of 2009 was introduction of WiMax internet in Bangladesh. It became quite popular in the country.
Rise of Freelance Outsourcing:
After opening up online transaction, the outsourcing sector of Bangladesh observed rapid growth. In 2010, Bangladesh made it to the list of Top Outsourcing Country of GARTNER Inc. (www.gartner.com).
Elance and Odesk are the two most popular sites for freelancing jobs. Many Bangladeshi freelancers also use these two sites. In 2013, Bangladesh was ranked 7th and 8th on the list of 180 countries in Elance and Odesk. In 2012, there were only 2,42,268 registered freelancers from Bangladesh which increased to 3,62,948 in 2013. By the first quarter of 2014, Bangladesh has a total of 3,87,114 freelancers. Between 2010 and the first quarter of 2014, a total of 435, 249 jobs had been awarded to Bangladeshi freelancers. SEO, WordPress, PHP, HTML, CSS, Data entry, MySQL, Internet research, social media marketing, and Adobe photoshop are some of the top paying skills for Bangladeshi freelancers.
Freelancers can now bring in money:
Seeing such rise of the outsourcing sector in the country, in August 2011, Bangladesh Bank issued a circular stating that Bangladeshi outsourcers can bring up to $500 at a time in the country through Online Payment Gateway Service Provider (OPGSP). The circular also said that the amount $500 will be increased further in future.
However, bringing in money from online from abroad was quite hectic for the freelancers back then. Hence, Bangladesh Bank gave permission Online Payment Gateway Service Provider (OPGSP) to operate in this country. Under this initiative, Alertpay started its operation in 2012. Initially, Payza started as Alertpay. In partnership with Bank Asia and Casada Technology Alertpay showcased its service at BASIS Soft Expo 2012. Later, in October that year, the company rebranded as Payza for the name Alertpay was causing confusion among people. Within a week of its launch, Alertpay got 21,000 new members and continued to grow rapidly.
Year 2013: The Rise of E-commerce
The year 2013 has been an important year in the history of E-commerce in Bangladesh. Some important things took place during this year, that would have a long lasting effect in the E-commerce sector.
- First, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) and Bangladesh Bank jointly observed E-commerce Week for the first time in the country. From January 5 to January 11, there were four roundtable discussions, two seminars, one technical session, special awareness program at Dhaka University and a special promotional campaign at Bashundhara Shopping Mall . Supported by ICT Business Promotion Council, the inauguration ceremony of E-Commerce Week took place in The Westin Hotel on 5 January, 2013. Governor of Bangladesh Bank, Dr. Atiur Rahman was the chief guest of the ceremony. The theme of the week was “Shop Online: Anything. Anytime.” In his speech, Dr. Atiur Rahman said that there were 4.6 million debit and credit card holders in the country and 3 million mobile bank accounts.
- In February 2013, for the first time in the country, Computer Jagat, the leading ICT magazine of Bangladesh, under the supervision of Dhaka DC Office, organized the first fair on E-commerce “ই-বাণিজ্য মেলা ২০১৩.” The three-day fair took place from February 7 to February 9 at the premise of Begum Sufia Kamal National Public Library. The slogan of the fair was- “Festival for buying and selling at your premise.” (স্লোগান: ঘরে বসে কেনাকাটার উৎসব). A total of 31 public and private E-commerce organizations showcased their products and services at the fair. Though first of its kind, the fair was huge success attracting eighty thousand visitors. Computer Jagat also did live webcast of the fair which was seen by more than fifty thousand people in Bangladesh and abroad.
- After the success of E-commerce Fair in Dhaka Computer Jagat organized two more fairs in Sylhet and Chittagong. A total of 45 organizations participated in the Sylhet fair attracting thirty thousand visitors. In the Chittagong fair a total of 51 organizations participated.
- After three successful E-commerce fairs in the country. Computer Jagat, ICT Ministry (currently Ministry of Post, Telecom and Information Technology) and Bangladesh High Commission London jointly organized the first international E-commerce Fair. The three-day UK-Bangladesh e-Commerce Fair will be held during September7-9 at Millennium Gloucester Hotel in Central London. Dr. Dipu Moni, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs Bangladesh inaugurated the fair. 19 organizations from Bangladesh and 13 from the UK participated in this fair. The UK-Bangladesh e-Commerce also repeated the success of previous fairs. Many Bangladeshis living in London and people of London came to visit the fair.
- Third, Bangladesh Bank gave permission to buy products and services online using international credit cards. Buying products and services from abroad using credit card is an important aspect of E-commerce but it was not possible for the Bangladeshi international credit card holders. In May last year, Bangladesh Bank gave permission to buy products from abroad via international credit card.
UK-BAGLADESH e-COMMERCE FAIR, LONDON souvenir article
According to a report in The Daily Star, 5,29,000 visitors came to Bangladesh during 2006-2010 and the country ‘earned US$ 413.00 million’ during this time. Accepting this figure as accurate, I am writing this post.
I also found in that report of the Daily Star that Bangladesh government gave Tk.650.00 million to the Tourism Board ‘for promoting and branding Bangladesh’. I have no information or idea about how the money was spent but sadly, I still cannot find any significant effort of using ICT in promoting tourism in the country. Especially when it comes to Internet, I really cannot find a large web portal in which you can find all the information of the tourism sector of the country.
The tourism sector has huge potential for the economy of the country. The country is blessed with natural beauty. The entire Hill Tracts, Sylhet, Sunderbans, The two sea beaches are very beautiful and can attract many tourists both foreign and local. Historical sites like Paharpur (Somapura Mahavihara) and Mohastangar symbolizes the rich heritage of the country. Bangladesh is also rich in cultural heritage. The rich tradition of Puthi recitation is there. Many people living near the Sundarbans forest recite Bonbibi’s Puthi with the goal of remaining safe from the attack of tigers.
One of the major reasons of our failure in the tourism sector is the lack of use of ICT and modern technology. We do not have any notable website or online presence here. We are still far behind in adopting modern technology in terms of booking and reservations in hotels and motels outside of Dhaka. Finally, there is no good e-commerce based website or web portal in which consumers can find and buy books, photos, videos and other products associated with historical and cultural significance.
It is not that tough to build a website on tourism by the private sector. However, it is almost impossible to make a profit out of it. Simply, there is no revenue model for it. For this, we need the spread of e-commerce in Bangladesh. Suppose our company or organization could build a website on the tourism sector of the country and even could put substantial amount of text, photos and videos. After that, there is hardly any potential to earn money and sustain it.
If there was widespread use of e-commerce in the tourism sector then we could provide to link hotels, motels and other service providers in the tourism sector like Airlines and travel agencies, tour operators etc. Then whatever transaction would take place due, we would earn a commission of 5% to 10%. This sounds too easy to implement but the reality is that most companies in the tourism sector in our country do not have this kind of vision.
Secondly, in our country, a tourist guide is identified merely as a person who can speak English well. Many tourist guides are not aware of the rich cultural heritage of the country. It often discourages tourists to make a trip outside of Dhaka. Again a good website can help the guides as well the tourists.
When it comes to doing research, Bangladesh has a lot to offer. It is really an unexplored country. Most of the fields are empty. Brahmo movement and Society in Dhaka, Marwaris in Bangladesh, Art and Architecture of the Pala Age, Bonbibi of the Sundarbans- these are some of the examples that can attract a lot of researchers. Again, the use of ICT and e-commerce can help the researchers. Also, it is not that expensive to make and upload some videos in YouTube and Facebook. Then, the foreign scholars and professors might get interested about these topics.
Despite these limitations and problems, I am optimistic about the tourism sector. Internal or local tourism has increased to a great extent. During the winter season and major holidays, thousands of people visit at least Cox’s Bazar. The average GDP growth has been constantly hovering around 6% and this can have positive impact in the growth of the tourism sector. If I am not wrong, tea was the second highest export earning product 30 years ago. However, now the demand for tea has increased so much in the local market that we are becoming a tea importing country.
For increasing the use of e-commerce and ICT in the tourism sector here are some recommendations:
1. Without any delay, we need a large web portal about tourism sector of Bangladesh in English language. That web portal will have text content, videos and photos about at least 1,000 places of 460 Upozilas.
2. We also have to create 1,000 videos for Facebook and Youtube. The length of the videos will be around 5-10 minutes. Each video will be in two languages: Bangla and English.
3. With the help of Banks and mobile financial institutions, the government should ensure that all the hotels and motels located in the popular tourist destinations will have online payment system for reservations and booking.
4. We need an online directory on Tourism which will be updated every year.
5. The Tourism Board should join hand with the Home Ministry to set up a special help line (mobile phone number). In times of trouble, the tourists will be able to call or send sms to that number and get help from the nearest police station.
6. We also need to make a large e-commerce based web portal on traditional products of the country. Anyone from any part of the planet will be able to buy the products with their credits cards.
7. I have been directly or indirectly involved with the ICT sector of the country for last 15 years. I know very well that nothing will change overnight. The process of change in our country is often painfully slow. However, if we can adopt e-commerce and ICT in this sector then things will really move rapidly.
Warm welcome to all of you in Ecombd blog- the place of E-commerce in Bangladesh. Yes, we are going to focus on this topic only here. We have a team here or a group of people behind this blog. I am the editor or the leader and I have 15 years of experience with the ICT Sector/Industry of Bangladesh in different capacities. I will try to talk about my background and relationship with this sector in a future post. For the time being let me focus on this blog only.
I like to talk a little bit about the team. Mehdi Hassan has also decent amount of experience with ICT. Kamrul Hasan is almost finishing his Bachelor Degree in English and he has been a blogger since 2007. Abdul Aziz Liton is our photographer. We have another 2-3 part time writers. I will try to write an About Us page in near future.
E-Commerce is a new phenomenon in the country. I think it was I who wrote one of the earliest cover stories about this topic in the Monthly Computer Bichitra (an ICT Magazine) in May 2000. Yes, it was more than 14 years ago. I will try to collect a copy of that article and put the translation here. Back then, use of Internet was limited, there was perhaps no credit card and even e-commerce had no legal framework.
Until 2009, hardly anything changed. Things started to change from 2011 and in 2013, Bangladesh saw the first E-Commerce fair. Then in 2013, there were 4 such fairs in Dhaka, Sylhet, Chittagong and London. The next Dhaka fair is going to held in the last week of September. Hopefully, Ecombd will have significant presence in the fair and we will cover the fair from now even more than the Computer Jagat, the organizer of the fair.
We will also focus on making a comprehensive list of E-Commerce websites in Bangladesh. Making such a list is tough and will surely take time. However, we will try our best.
We like to cover the industry as much as possible. We want to cover everything related to E-commerce sector in Bangladesh. We want to interview the people related to it, mention all the news, press release, talk about research articles and researchers- in short everything related to the industry. We also have some plan to upload videos in YouTube about this industry.
Well, it sounds to be highly ambitious. We will try our best to cover the ecommerce sector in Bangladesh. We need your support to do it. Read our blog, comment, bookmark, share our articles in Facebook, send us press release and be in touch with us in any capacity. If you are a journalist then please mention this blog in your report. If you are a blogger then write about us. If you are a professor then mention our blog to your students.
Finally, happy reading and be with us.