Experts urge Middle East firms to go online
Experts are urging Arab firms to abandon their traditional ways of doing business and join the e-commerce world as competition threatens the survival of many companies.
Economic experts said the switch to electronic commerce is vital not only in order to maintain a competitive edge, but also to strengthen intra-Arab trade that presently does not exceed 5 percent.
"The Internet draws the new rules of competition," said George Kassir, Middle East executive director of Compact. He said Middle East firms and institutions should soon realize the Internet is a useful source of information on market trends and consumer needs.
Experts point to Dubai internet city (DIC) as a good start, but say much more needs to be done to get the Arab world prepared for the new challenges. The establishment of institutions that deal with electronic commerce is recommended in order to create the foundations needed for the switch.
Knowledge View director, Ammar Al-Asummi, said he expects the switch should not be difficult to make and that companies would eventually realize that it actually cuts costs. Al-Asummi said a purchase order issued in the traditional way, for example, could cost up to $150, while through the Internet it costs only $10.
"Companies that don't use the Internet to do business will be unable to compete in today's market and possibly even lose their ability to survive," Kassir said.
Analysts say electronic commerce in the Middle East during the year 2000 is expected to amount to around $400 million and expectations are that in 2003, it will have risen to $3 billion. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)