Magazine article International Trade Forum

The Changing Marketplace: Putting "E" to Work

Magazine article International Trade Forum

The Changing Marketplace: Putting "E" to Work

Article excerpt

If communities in developing countries are to benefit from technology, we need to 'put "e"' to work'. Technology is one thing. Applying the benefits of technology to boost exports, jobs and income, is another.

This issue of Forum is part of ITC's contribution to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), taking place in Geneva in December 2003 and Tunis in November 2005. ITC's contribution aims to help small firms improve their competitive position by using information and communications technologies. From agriculture to industrial products, consumer goods and business services, technology matters. Whether companies manage traditional exports in new ways or exploit opportunities in new export sectors, they are 'putting "e" to work' to sharpen their competitive edge.

Small exporters in developing countries know this. But with rapidly changing technology, the volume of information available, and complicated-sounding technical terms, technology choices can be overwhelming. Many e-trade applications exist, but most are targeted to large, well-resourced companies. In developing countries, exporters may face additional hurdles such as poor connectivity, a shortage of trained workers, a lack of data protection laws and limited access to finance.

Yet the danger of not investing in technology is that exporters will be left behind, as more and more world trade moves online. E-trade is not just about online transactions; firms can 'put "e" to work' to meet a variety of business needs. Business cases from Hungary, Kenya, Nepal, the Philippines, South Africa and the Mekong Basin show that exporters are using technology to tackle distribution, customer relationships, back office operations and marketing. They are also exporting new technology-related services. In the process, they may not invest in the most expensive solutions--just the most appropriate. Many firms are also capturing the trend of tapping into their overseas communities (diaspora networks) for markets, resources and contacts.

E-marketplaces are one option for small firms that are under debate. Some see them as opportunities for exporters to pool resources to attract buyers, conduct back office operations and manage clients jointly. Others believe that, at best, e-marketplaces serve the same function as trade leads or directories, and at worst, they pressure suppliers who compete in buyer-driven e-marketplaces. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.