Asian b2b e-commerce slowly catching up with west

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HONG KONG--An e-commerce business-to-business revolution is underway in Asia, led by firms such as Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison, Legend computers in China, HSBC bank and Siam Cement, but industry maturity lies several years down the road, according to Goldman Sachs Investment Research.

Goldman Sachs forecasts that B2B e-commerce transactions in the region will reach $440 billion by 2005. "Asia-Pacific should generate about 10% of the $4.5 trillion in global B2B e-commerce transactions we forecast by 2005," explains Goldman Sachs Internet analyst Rajeev Gupta in Hong Kong.

"Asian companies see the strong upside for B2B, as shown by the 71% of respondents to [a Goldman Sachs] survey that said they had been planning their e-commerce strategies for at least six months. However, 45% of respondents to our survey said they still had not settled on a plan of attack," he adds.

A lack of infrastructure will restrain B2B adoption in the short term, but by the end of 2001, Mr. Gupta expects e-commerce to accelerate in developed markets like Australia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. China's B2B market, held back by poor infrastructure, should begin to accelerate in 2003 or 2004.

Copyright July 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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