San Francisco--Despite the current down economy, geopolitical uncertainty and the allied war on terrorism, b-to-b e-commerce in the U.S. and internationally is poised for marked growth, according to a new report. By 2005, b-to-b e-commerce revenues in the U.S. and internationally will hit $1.6 trillion and $2.8 trillion, respectively, according to International Data Corp., Framingham, Mass. This year, b-to-b e-commerce revenues in the U.S. and internationally will be $174 billion and $291 billion, respectively. North American companies are poorly prepared to take advantage of the coming global boom, according to IDC. Only 12% have Web sites that are multilingual. That compares with 50% of Asian companies and 40% of Western European companies. "Successful international players must be able to understand local cultures and local languages when entering new markets," said Alex Motsenigos, senior analyst at IDC. "The simple truth is Asia-Pacific and Western European players have developed a better understanding around such business requirements compared to their North American counterparts."Some North American companies have been reluctant to invest in non-English Web initiatives because English is the lingua franca for business. Still, some experts contend that these companies risk alienating potential clients.
--Philip B. Clark