Commerce 3.0: Enabling ASEAN Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprise diverse economies with significant variance in the adoption of eCommerce. eBay sellers from ASEAN export using eBay’s global platforms. Through the power of the Internet and technology, small businesses are able to reach beyond a local consumer base and access global markets like never before.

Commerce 3.0 is the term we use to describe this coming together of online and offline worlds and the merging of local and global markets. The idea that technology-enabled small businesses can maintain a local presence while providing goods and services on a global scale points to a novel and exciting story, particularly for those engaging in trade policy. International trade has traditionally been the privilege of the largest players. This is changing. The Internet creates a truly global network. Combining it with technology solutions and services enables merchants and consumers to connect and establish trust across national and cultural borders.

The analysis in this report is based on research by Sidley Austin LLP on datasets from eBay, and follows research conducted in the Asia Pacific, United States and Europe. eBay data covers all eBay sales by ASEAN sellers from 2014 (unless specified otherwise). ‘eBay Commercial sellers’ are defined as those with annual sales of USD10,000 or more, and eBay commercial exporters are those with annual exports of USD10,000 or more.

Most eBay internal data focuses on six ASEAN members: Indonesia; Malaysia; Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; and Vietnam. For the purposes of this report, traditional trade and exports is predominately offline trade. Internet-empowered small businesses and entrepreneurs are able to overcome some of the traditional barriers associated with international trade. However some barriers remain while new ones arise as large corporations are joined by small firms and entrepreneurs on the global stage. This report will provide several recommendations for consideration to overcome these challenges.