Korea hosted an international forum on e-commerce in East Asia at the COEX Convention and Exhibition Center in Gangnam-gu, Seoul on Wednesday, where ways to lower barriers to e-commerce trade and create a single market for the region were discussed.
The state-backed Korean Institute for Electronic Trade and Commerce Promotion (KIETaC) led the bilateral forum with China, exchanging ideas on how to resolve issues with customs and logistics in the fast-rising sector.
The forum was held two months after President Park Geun-hye, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to boost e-commerce in the region by establishing a single united digital market. Seoul hosted the trilateral summit in November.
“The forum will pave the way for completing the agreement as soon as possible. It is also notable that Korea is taking the lead in boosting e-commerce and leading the unified digital market project,” said KIETaC Chairman Shim Dong-sup.
“We expect sizeable economic effects from forming one huge market for the region through electronic trade.”
The forum consisted of three sessions: policymaking, business meetings and market overview.
In the policymaking session, Zhang Jinliang, chairman of Qingdao Jinshi Holdings, forecast a bright future for e-commerce, as it provides convenience to customers in ways that traditional services cannot.
“Chinese customers order Korean goods through e-commerce and get them delivered to their home directly,” said Zhang at the forum. “It reduces many processes as well as cuts costs.”
Qingdao Jinshi is a state-funded company which runs the largest e-commerce firm in China specialized in Korean goods.
He said he plans to boost the business by combining sales channels for PCs, mobile devices and offline shops into one system.
Jang Sang-shik, a researcher at the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), said e-commerce is on the rise globally. He expected the volume of e-commerce to reach $1 trillion in 2018, up from $233 billion in 2014. The number of customers using e-commerce will also increase, topping 20 million in 2018 from 13 million in 2014, he said.
BS Communications CEO Park Byung-kyu said that Korean companies need an e-commerce strategy to target Chinese customers. He advised them to localize their brand names to the Chinese market and target their demand based on online surveys.
KIETaC was established by the government in November to help local companies connect with the e-commerce market. Shim has led the agency since then.