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Singapore E-Commerce Revenues Hit $706 Million

Business-to-business electronic commerce transactions in Singapore exceeded the S$1 billion mark to reach S$1.2 billion (US$706 million) in 1998, Singapore's Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Lim Swee Say announced.

"Recognizing the huge potential of e-commerce, the (Singapore) government has taken concrete steps to position Singapore as a global node and regional hub in e-commerce," Lim said at the opening of US e-commerce solutions supplier Sterling Commerce.

The minister, appointed to the newly formed ministry, said that the industry "can expect the volume and total value of e-commerce transactions to grow strongly in the coming years."

Business-to-business e-commerce activity continues to grow strongly in line with the growth in global internet users, he added.

Meanwhile, Sterling Commerce said that it was locating its regional business activity in Singapore in line with the government's goal of making Singapore a major hub in e-commerce activity.

Don Bryan, vice-president for Sterling's Asia Pacific operations, said the company is investing US$4.5 million to cite its regional headquarter activity in Singapore. This will include a software research lab and a 24-hour customer support center.

"We are trying to sustain our growth at (rate) 30 percent (a year) and to do so, we need to grow into a market that is growing rapidly," said Bryan.

The company's sales in the region tripled over the past two years and it expects to register revenues of US$20 million for 1999, the company said. It expects to boost its regional sales by 50 percent in the next financial year and expects Singapore and Hongkong to be major contributors, Bryan said.

Sterling plans to target e-commerce solutions at electronics manufacturing, health, logistics and retail sectors to fuel its growth. It also plans to target ISPs as they compete to be gateway sites, the company said.