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Bangkok among 12 Top E-commerce Cities in Asia

E-commerce is expected to grow strongly in the coming years driven by the increasing number of users of mobile phone and internet, and the good news is the fact that Bangkok’s full potential has not been realized yet

Olivier Languepin

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An “e-commerce city” can be defined as an urban city that has interconnected systems that make up an e-commerce ecosystem.

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While economic size and growth of cities are important to consider, several other factors help determine the attractiveness of its e-commerce landscape, including the city’s readiness to accept technological disruption, network infrastructure, ecosystem and competitiveness, customer behavior, and most importantly, future growth opportunities.

These factors not only help a city sustain high economic growth rates but also create a stable and harmonious business environment for e-commerce to strive.

12 e-commerce cities in Asia

Based on these results, YCP Solidiance identified the top 12 e-commerce cities in Asia in the following alphabetical order: Bangkok, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.

Bangkok’s e-commerce is expected to grow strongly in the coming years, driven by the increasing number of users of mobile phone and internet, as well as improvement in Bangkok’s infrastructure, such as 4G.

Mobile e-commerce will continue to see strong growth especially among millennials generation.

The good news is the fact that Bangkok’s e-commerce full potential has not been realized. In the future, e-commerce is predicted to grow further by the millennial generation’s usage as well as the maturity of the payment system and telecommunication infrastructure.

E-commerce sales in Asoa. Source :  YCP Solidiance
E-commerce sales in Asoa. Source : YCP Solidiance

Lack of high-quality human talents

However Bangkok & Ho Chi Minh City are considered to have the lowest human resource and knowledge creation performance due to limited university and high-quality human talents.

The home of 15.7 million population has 67% internet penetration rate, 5.7 million smartphone users and 45% digital banking penetration.

Along with the intense competition among e-commerce operators, the government’s recent PromptPay service, which falls under the national e-payment scheme, is also the key driver to stimulate e-commerce activities.

Furthermore, the quality and reliability standard for online shopping has improved dramatically compared to the past years.

Important highlights on Bangkok:

  • Bangkok’s online retail commerce is driven by increased internet penetration, smartphone penetration, mobile usage and intense competition among e-commerce operators, driving more customers to shop online. 
  • Third party logistic help retailers in the city becoming more efficient through delivery service.
  • The government’s PromptPay service, which falls under the national e-payment scheme, is the key driver to stimulate e-commerce activities. 
  • The government’s Digital Thailand Initiative that first started in 2016 has brought a wave of opportunities for businesses across different industries to digitize their operations and services.
  • Lack of promotion and support from government on both policies and incentives, as well as customer e-commerce propensity on branding & trust and product quality are among the barriers for e-commerce in Bangkok.

5 key building blocks for startup ecosystem

Bangkok and other global cities can improve their e-commerce ecosystem through the recommended framework on this paper, providing 5 key building blocks for startup ecosystem to reach its full potential, including: stable and predictable regulatory environments; adequate talent; market readiness and robust infrastructure; funding to scale up the business, and global culture to empower innovative ideas.


Bangkok Correspondent for Siam News Network. Editor at Thailand Business News

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Ecommerce

How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?

Oxford Business Group

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How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?
– After falling significantly in 2020, oil prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability

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A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.

The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.

Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.

In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.

While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.

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How the Rural-Urban Divide Plays Out on Digital Platforms

It is one thing for entrepreneurs, whether urban or rural, to create and operate an online store, as some digital platforms have made it relatively easy to manage an e-store – even by using just a smartphone.

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In the West, villages are emptying out due to the lack of economic opportunities. Consider Italy where, in a bid to attract newcomers, a handful of municipalities have turned to selling houses for €1.

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Will South-east Asia’s tech giants turn to SPACs to boost post-pandemic growth?

Oxford Business Group

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Will South-east Asia’s tech giants turn to SPACs to boost post-pandemic growth?
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– The vehicle is widely used to help tech start-ups go public
– Both Singapore’s and Indonesia’s exchanges are set to allow SPACs
– Several South-east Asian tech unicorns may use SPACs to list publicly

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South-east Asia is seeing a wave of interest in special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, with various major tech players considering them as a means to fast-track public listings. In parallel to this, several exchanges in the region are moving to allow SPAC listings, with a view to boosting post-coronavirus growth.

SPACs are shell companies set up by investors and then listed on a given stock exchange. Their sole function is to acquire a private company, enabling it to go public without having to go through a traditional initial public offering (IPO).

A SPAC does nothing beyond its essential function – it neither produces nor sells anything, and a SPAC’s only assets are the funds raised from its own IPO.

Crucially, people who buy into a SPAC do not know what its eventual acquisition target or targets will be. This is why SPACs are often referred to as “blank cheque companies”: they give the founders a free rein to back their choice of private company. A key feature of SPACs is that they are often headed by big-name business executives or fund managers, who trade on past successes to inspire trust in investors.

While they are far from a novel phenomenon, SPACs have become a hot button topic in recent times: SPAC initial offerings quadrupled last year, with the vehicles raising a record $80bn.

Merging with a SPAC enables a company to go public and raise capital more quickly and painlessly than with a traditional IPO, circumventing some of the volatility that Covid-19 unleashed on global markets. At the same time, they function rather like venture capital, helping investors to buy into high-growth start-ups on the ground floor.

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