E-commerce presents growth opportunity for Singapore SMEs: PayPal

Nurdianah Md Nur

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore should take advantage of e-commerce to expand their business beyond the republic, advised payment service provider PayPal.

According to PayPal's Cross Border Insights 2013, Singapore online exports on PayPal's global payment platform saw a year-on-year growth of 38 percent last year despite Non-Oil Domestic Exports (NODX) from the city-state declining by 0.6 percent.

The top five PayPal Singapore export markets were found to be the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, China, and Germany. These top e-commerce export corridors house a growing population of cross-borders shoppers who preferred shopping online as long as the payment systems used are secure, said PayPal in a media statement.

Findings from PayPal's report also showed that Singapore SMEs continued growing strongly within Asia. China and Hong Kong remained the two fastest growing corridors with 158 percent and 85 percent year-on-year growth respectively. PayPal attributed the aggressive demand from Greater China to the fast-growing and connected middle class with a strong appetite for online purchases.

Market research company eMarketer predicts that over 46 percent of the world's digital buyers will reside in Asia Pacific this year. SMEs should thus "ride the e-commerce wave ...to grow their sales by expanding across borders," said Lawrence Chan, Vice President of Asia Pacific Merchant Services and General Manager of Southeast Asia & India from PayPal.