Commerce 3.0: How Technology is Empowering Canadian Entrepreneurs to Grow Globally

Technology, particularly the Internet, is causing a significant shift in the way that international trade is conducted. Working with external economists, our team at eBay Inc. has spent the last four years researching this phenomenon.

Our research has uncovered a new segment of traders that is significantly different from traditional traders. The Internet and technology-based services are enabling these businesses, typically small businesses that we will call Technology-Enabled Small Businesses, to directly reach consumers in many global markets, without large scale physical operations or necessarily integrating into larger supply chains. The Internet provides instant access to over 2.6 billion people around the world; the services that sit on top of the Internet allow for low cost development, marketing, and financial services; and global logistics providers enable delivery of physical products directly to consumers in any country. These developments are transforming the face of the global trading regime.

This white paper will describe the tremendous shift that technology is causing in the international arena by focusing in on Canadian small business entrepreneurs that are using eBay Marketplaces to expand their businesses globally. This article also discusses the unique trade issues those entrepreneurs face. The economic analysis of eBay data was conducted in collaboration with economists Simon Schropp and Andreas Lendle of Sidley Austin LLP. The research findings are complemented with an assessment of the macro and micro-level trade policy implications.