Hong Kong lags behind mainland China by 10 years with regards to digital payments. © Getty Images
Hong Kong lags behind mainland China by 10 years with regards to digital payments. © Getty Images

Asia Pacific leads global digital commerce

Asia Pacific has been a leading influence on the global digital commerce market, according to research.

Global digital commerce has been dominated by the Asia Pacific region, accounting for 41% of spend worldwide in 2018, according to Euromonitor International’s (EI) white paper Digitalisation in Asia: How One Region is Shaping Worldwide Trends.

The research outlines how Asia is expected to be a “fundamental part of the world’s economy”, and three key areas of digital technology have been successfully leveraged to boost commerce: super apps, digital transactions, and social media platforms.

According to EI, 51% of the world’s internet users live in Asia Pacific, and this is expected to increase to 53% by 2030 “due to an investment in digital infrastructure, competition-enabling regulations and the rapid spread of mobile technology".

Super apps, such as WeChat, have provided industries with opportunities to grow, and this has been proven through the transportation and food delivery sectors. A case study in the white paper highlighted how the Indonesian motorbike-hailing mobile app, Go-Jek, used its network of drivers, growth of the digital market, and collaborative partnerships to expand into other sectors such as online foodservice (Go-Food) and cargo deliveries (Go-Send).

While online retail remains the largest industry, increasing digital capabilities towards payments and apps have led to outsourcing of services. Jocelyn Cheung, contributing analyst at EI, said online food delivery services are increasing at more than double the growth rate of any other industry.

“Delivery services helped expand reach and reduce the costs of maintaining a delivery system for operators,” she added.

Meanwhile, governments across Asia Pacific have been implementing policies to reduce cash transactions and encourage digital innovation for commerce, including quick response codes as standard for payments and looser regulations.

However, Hong Kong lags behind mainland China by 10 years with regards to digital payments due to “lack of regulatory framework” for online payment systems, according to EI.

EI recommends companies competing in this region consider how connectivity has reshaped lifestyles and industries, and how devices and super apps are rewriting commerce.

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