I have been reading up on the growth of Alibaba in China and the prevalence of M-banking and payments in Indonesia and Africa.
All the growth in these regions is fueled from a common starting point,
A lack of infrastructure.
The countries are huge, corruption rampant, banks undependable, and competition rife.
They do however, have entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs find ways to get things done, get products into buyers hands and create a safe and secure system for money to change hands. It is this very lack of infrastructure that allows business owners to create channels to push their goods through and satisfy the demand.
In Singapore however, We have terrific public infrastructure in our banking and transportation. Our Postal service is top notch and our retail sector is mature. on teh surface it seems to mnake for an easy access into online retail. The reality is that there are very low barriers to entry because of the infrastructure support and this leads to many many would-be entrepreneurs trying their luck.
In Singapore, in an hour, one can take public transport to town from any part of the island to purchase an item. One is also spoilt for choice as to the amount of options available. This means that most blogshops are forced to compete on price. This depresses the market, makes buyers happy but cuts margins to a point where one might be wildly successful but still not make much money.
That said, the cream always rises to the top. Those shops who put in a bit more effort to offer a unique product, control the supply chain, perhaps from a manufacturer level, personalise their offerings or are able to design and supply according to the market demand, they will succeed.