Will ‘last kilometre’ stymie e-commerce in South Asia?

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The Shenzhen Cross Border E-commercial Association (SCBEA) is aware of the e-commerce potential in nearby South Asia and further afield Africa and South America but has flagged up some concerns.

Infrastructure and supporting software are identified as joint lead problems with communications, network, logistics and finance in these areas still mostly undeveloped with the cost of broadband and logistics very high, signal poor and online surfing slow, SCBEA deputy executive president, global business development William Zhang, told Air Cargo Week

“’The last kilometre” logistics still has many problems, the error rate is high, the e-payment in these area is still in the stage of user education and not applied widely,” Zhang said.

Many local e-commerce enterprises have not yet accepted mobile e-commerce and lack of understanding of cross border e-commerce, which leads to a poor mobile device user experience and this affects consumers’ positivity. Some local laws and regulations are obscure and there is a lack of trust between people, he added.

As a result, payment methods with high cost, such as pay on delivery, are still used in transactions and are considered mainstream, policies vary frequently and there can be problems with customs and clearance.

On top of this “some local e-business platforms are against cross-border e-commerce.” He did not elaborate.

The Association does see “considerable growth possibility” in these parts of the world as “the recognition degree of foreign consumers to Chinese brand will be gradually improved. It is also advantageous for Chinese cross border e-commerce to expand in foreign markets.”

This is helped by government policy which is supportive of the industry.

“China’s import and export cross-border e-commerce business will continue to develop rapidly under the favorable influence of various aspects. In the long term, with the constant improvement of China’s cross-border e-commerce policy and standardization in relevant laws and regulations,” Zhang added.