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E-Business Development Services for SMEs in GMS Countries ICT Applications Section Information, Communication and Space Technology Division United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Background

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e business development services for smes in gms countries

E-Business Development Services for SMEs in GMS Countries

ICT Applications Section

Information, Communication and Space Technology Division

United Nations

Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

  • SMEs (small and medium enterprises) are the main drivers of the GMS economy

Year Total No.SME Distribution (%)

Cambodia 2001 40,000 98.8 (industry sector)

Lao PDR 1999 22,131 99.4

Myanmar 1999 55,523 99.2

Thailand 2003 1,995,929 99.5

Viet Nam 2002 62,908 95.1

Yunnan 2001 66,680 99.8

95% SMEs

  • Increasing trend – globalization: businesses target global market; more competitive
  • Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are increasingly becoming necessary tools for SMEs
  • ICTs allow SMEs to enter the global economy and open new opportunities for conducting business
  • ICTs are already being used by SMEs in GMS countries
  • SMEs and their supporting agencies are often not aware of the opportunities that ICTs have to offer

Problem analysis

Low level of competitiveness of SMEs in the global market


Unable to provide e-business development services to SMEs


Lack of knowledge on e-business

No hardware /software infrastructure


No demand from SMEs

unescap project on e business development
UNESCAP project on e-business development







  • Project goal
    • To enhance the support of enterprise support agencies for e-business initiatives of SMEs
  • Project outcome
    • Enterprise support agencies improve their support for e-business initiatives and publicize e-business development services









project activities
Project Activities
  • Phase I
    • Assessment and situation analysis (desk study and needs assessment survey)
    • National strategies for e-business service development for each GMS country (national stakeholders workshop)
    • Knowledge sharing subregional workshop
  • Phase II
    • Training of enterprise support agencies (two trainings)
    • One pilot e-business development service, including provision of hardware/software to introduce/enhance the services and roadshow to promote e-business development services, in some participating countries

Phase I

Desk study

Needs Assessment Survey

National stakeholder consultations

E-business development service needs and strategic directions are identified for the region and each country

Enterprise Support Agencies under-stand the needs and potential of e-business development services

Sub-regional Workshop

Good practices are identified


Phase II

Enterprise support agencies are convinced of the need and potential of e-business development services and support the project objectives

Activities: trainings and pilot project implementations

Improve e-business and training skills (trainings)

Improved information infrastructure for SMEs (E-business services at ESAs)

Awareness raising of benefits of e-business for SMEs (Roadshow/Launching events)


desk study e business development services for smes

BDS categorieswww.seepnetwork.org

1 Market access

2 Infrastructure

3 Policy/Advocacy

4 Input Supply

5 Training & Technical Assistance

6 Technology & Product Development

7 Alternative financing Mechanisms

Desk Study: e-Business development services for SMEs

Definitions: BDS, eBDS

Business development services (BDS): services used by entrepreneurs to operate and grow businesses.

e-Business development services (eBDS) services related to use of ICTs for business. [ICT-based / Internet-enabled /Web-based services]

e-Business: use of computers and networks (ICTs) to do business or improve business processes.

desk study ict use in business
Desk Study:ICT use in business

  • Small survey of ICT use among SMEs in Cambodia and Viet Nam (Sinha 2004)
  • Common: word proc, e-mail, research
  • Sometimes: website, e-marketplaces
  • Thailand (2003)
  • 11% of all businesses have PCs.
  • 1.2% have websites.
  • Asia Foundation SME 2001 survey:
  • > Half with websites [tourism] > 40% had online ordering systems
  • > 13% were members of e-portals
  • Lao PDR (2003)
  • Local private companies, 1/5 of Internet subscribers
  • Viet Nam (2003)
  • <10% enterprises, networked IT users.
  • Myanmar (2002)
  • Computerized systems in industries:
  • finance, insurance 90%
  • service 50%
  • wholesale, retail 33%
  • manufacturing 20%
  • Very low IT demand from SMEs
  • Yunnan (2001, 2004)
  • 8.5% businesses used e-commerce.
  • Yunnan, 1.1% of Chinese websites

Cambodia Draft Sub-decree on Electronic Transactions

Lao PDR none

China Draft electronic signature act

Myanmar Electronic Transactions Law 2004

Thailand Electronic Transactions Act 2001

Viet Nam Draft e-commerce law

Desk Study:Constraints for ICT use in SMEs

Internal barriers

External barriers

  • Other management priorities
  • Lack of skills on ICT use
  • Lack of regulatory framework
  • Security issues
  • Use of credit
  • Language and netiquette skills
  • Shopping habits
  • Trust/security
  • Limited telecommunication lines
  • High costs, slow connections

Needs Assessment: Enterprise Support Agencies and e-Business services

To analyze the level of ICT usage and adoption among ESAs in the GMS countries

needs assessment biggest obstacles in supporting smes with icts
Needs Assessment:Biggest Obstacles in Supporting SMEs with ICTs
  • Lack of awareness
  • Lack of Human Capacity
  • Inadequate Legal Framework
  • Lack of Hardware and Software
  • Lack of Basic Telecommunication Infrastructure

E-business Training Modules

To provide the core foundation skills for ESAs to provide training services to SMEs in the respective countries.


e-Business Pilot Projects

upgrade technical capacity for development and promotion of e-business services for SMEs

Participating countries: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Viet Nam, Yunnan Province of China

Evaluation of e-Business Pilot Projects

To evaluate the impact of the project on the effectiveness of e-business development services provided by the ESAs, and in particular on their impact on the SMEs’ use of ICT

End of the project: 31 October 2006

interim evaluation results
Interim Evaluation Results
  • Project is relevant
  • Project has been efficient and effective
  • Impacts
    • enhanced awareness
    • capacity built
    • networks of ESAs in promoting e-business
  • Sustainability: Government supporting informatization services for SMEs
policy recommendations
Policy Recommendations
  • Specific programmes to promote e-business services
  • Integrate trade and transport facilitation initiatives with e-business development programmes
  • Development of domestic ICT markets to meet the e-business needs of SMEs
  • Develop and/or implement ICT policies and regulations related to online transactions
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