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Go for e-commerce to get even with bigger firms

Business Times, June 14 2001

Small businesses, whose presence is constantly under the threat of bigger entities, can “virtually?get even at the playing field via e-commerce, according to Sdn. Bhd. chief executive officer Fione Tan May Yee.

“Their website and your website is just a click away, occupying the same space of computer screen. It is how one make the most of it which counts, not the size of your business,?she told Business Times in Kuala Lumpur.

Tan said concerns hindering smaller businesses from venturing online include not knowing how to attract customers to their websites, uncertainty over their return on investment and jitters from the recent dotcom meltdown. “These concerns are real, and will be looked into through a seminar to be organised by us.?br>
Local e-business service provider Sdn. Bhd. and the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry are jointly organising the three-day second e-business ownership campaign beginning July 31. Tan said it will address participants?reservations over embracing e-commerce as well as creating an awareness among small and medium industries (SMIs) on the best practices to make the most out of what they have.

“We cannot tell you when you will achieve profitability. Even the biggest players on the Internet could not foresee the date of achieving profitability, but we know what it takes to make money and we want to help you, if you would let us. “For instance, printing your website on your business card is just another line, but not many companies utilize this, saying that they’re waiting until the website is good enough. This is a waste of resources,? Tan said.

She noted that Internet penetration in Malaysia is still at an early stage, among some 10 percent of the population. “But, if you wait until everyone else have gone online, you have more to worry about. For one, every good and catchy domain name would surely have been taken.?br>
“A domain name, although not the most important of things, it does count and this is not where you would want to quote a rose by any other name,?Fione said.

She then cited the domain name ‘ which was sold for US$7.5 million (US$1 = RM 3.80), more than a hundred thousand times the US$70 initially paid to register the domain name. “Having an Internet presence is no longer just a leap of faith. If you do not go online, your competitors will take your market share,?Tan said.

She also said that the numbers of Internet users are constantly growing worldwide. It is estimated that by year 2002, some 490 million people worldwide will have Internet access, meaning 80 people out of every 1000 people worldwide growing to 118 out of every 1,000 by year 2005. Forrester Research has estimated half of all online sales to be done outside the US by 2004. has over 100 clients from Malaysia and Singapore and over 3,000 active members in their system.

"Go for e-commerce to get even with bigger firms - Business Times"

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