IPIM partners with eBay to boost SMEs

Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Issue 1016, Page 3
Word count: 664
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) and eBay Hong Kong signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which will help local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to expand their businesses to outside of Macau through sponsorships.

eBay is the third online auction and shopping website to join IPIM’s E-Commerce Support Program, following the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and Alibaba.com.

The E-Commerce Support Program, launched in November 2009, provides local SMEs with a maximum MOP20,000 subsidy per year to develop online trading businesses with any of the three authorised e-commerce operators.

According to IPIM president Jackson Chang, to date a total of 56 applications wishing to participate in the program were received and 54 of them have been approved while the other two are still in process.

The majority of the companies are from the manufacturing industry but there is also a small part engaging in IT and trade businesses.

IPIM has granted nearly MOP1 million of subsidies to the 54 SMEs. The money is mainly used to cover advertising and product listing costs at the trading websites.

Jackson Chang said e-commerce is getting popular among the SMEs in Macau. “Using e-commerce is not only about boosting transactions, but is also about publicity and market expansion.

Yet, he stressed that e-commerce is just one of the promotional media and companies can also participate in exhibitions or other events to increase their exposure in the market.

Jackson Chang said IPIM will continue to expand the list of authorised e-commerce operators, adding it might consider trading websites from mainland China such as Taobao.com.

In addition to the MOU signing ceremony, IPIM also held a seminar, “Opportunities of Using Online Business – How to Expand Sales Channel”, where eBay vice president and CEO of eBay Greater China, Southeast Asia and Japan, Jeff Liao delivered a welcome speech.

In 2009, eBay reported a worldwide transaction amount of over US$60 billion, Jeff Liao said.

According to the internal statistics, Jeff Liao said the most active categories of export transactions conducted by Macau enterprises in 2009 using eBay were service and parts, mobile phones and accessories as well as auto parts.

The products were mainly mailed to the United States, Australia and Britain.

The number of Macau sellers and their transaction amounts on eBay had also maintained a three-digital growth in the past two years, Jeff Liao added.

Michelle Leung, director of marketplace development of eBay Hong Kong and Taiwan, told reporters on the sidelines of the seminar that the cooperation with IPIM is to help SMEs “kick start their businesses easier”.

She said a research conducted by eBay before showed that the two main obstacles for Macau SMEs to use e-commerce were costs and expertise.

Therefore, apart from working with IPIM to provide SMEs with subsidies, Leung said the eBay will also arrange trading assistants to support them throughout the whole selling process as well as help them produce advertising at the website.

In addition, she said eBay will exempt SMEs from paying the listing fees of the first 100 to 200 products so that they can try to launch e-commerce “at a low cost”.

In regard to the future prospects of e-commerce in Macau, Michelle Leung said there is already a group of “successful eBay sellers from Macau” who are doing the business on a part-time basis.

She said these sellers usually buy products from Zhuhai or the southern part of China and then sell them through eBay.

“Macau is in a favourable geographical position since it’s close to Zhuhai and people can buy things from there very conveniently and then make use of an international platform to sell things to other countries,” she said.

Leung believed that there is “very good potential” for the whole Greater China region to develop e-commerce. “Since most of the products are made in China nowadays, Macau SMEs is having a cost advantage and with their foreign language skills and experience in foreign trade, it will help them do businesses online.”

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