Asia emerging as e-commerce powerhouse

The trend will have profound effects on Western economies in the near term, according to Burdon.

Burdon's complete findings will be presented at the World E-Commerce Forum in London in October.

Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Korea will be seeing far more intensive e-commerce activity than Europe and, possibly, the US as a direct result of the current aggressive exploitation of e-commerce throughout the region at all levels, Burdon said in a preliminary report issued Friday by the World E-Commerce Forum.

Also entering the picture are India, an emerging high-tech powerhouse that recently announced a target of $US50 billion export software sales by 2008, and China, which is leapfrogging over the PC era to launch straight in to mobile internet access, according to Burdon.

By 2004, six of the top seven most intensive e-commerce countries in the world will be in Asia, led by the tiny city-state of Singapore. That country is already a major player in the world's information technology industry, with annual high-tech exports of $US65 billion per annum, primarily PCs, PC components, and e-commerce hub operations.

"Many of the Asian countries will not be encumbered by the inertia of long-established business practices and institutions, making them far more responsive to changes and developments in the global e-conomy," Burdon said in the report.

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