E-Biz index to boost online trade

The Vietnam E-Commerce Association (VECOM) plans to develop an e-commerce index to review progress in development of services across the country that enables business to be carried out online.

The new Vietnam e-Biz Index, part of the Government's master plan to develop the e-commerce sector, will help enhance the competitiveness of businesses and the country as a whole, according to VECOM.

The index will also accelerate the modernization of the economy, which had a GDP of US$119 billion last year, while helping concretize Vietnam's commitments on international integration to WTO, APEC and ASEM.

VECOM vice chairman Nguyen Thanh Hung said that to build the index, from July to August this year the association will survey e-commerce readiness at thousands of businesses in all 63 provinces and cities nationwide.

Results of the survey will be collected and processed to develop and complete the index, scheduled to be published in November this year, he said.

Under the master plan on e-commerce development for the next five years, the Government aims to ensure at least 80 percent of the country's businesses have their own websites while half of all public utilities providers (including those providing water, electricity, telecommunications and media) will accept online payments.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade reported that 60 percent of large companies offered e-commerce services during the 2006-11 period, of which 70 percent had websites, 95 percent received online orders and 96 percent used email regularly for their business activities.

Meanwhile, up to 85 percent of small and medium enterprises allowed their customers to place orders online and 80 percent of them considered email as a tool for business.

In addition, 49 percent of households in Vietnam have an internet connection and 18 percent make online purchases.

The Vietnam ICT index, another indicator relating to the information and technology sector, measures the readiness of ICT (information and communications technology) applications and development in provinces across the country.

The central city of Danang last year topped index for the third consecutive year, marking the sixth year it had been listed among the top five cities.

HCM City secured second place and the northern province of Bac Ninh ranked third.