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In a recent report on the eCommerce market in the GCC countries by Visa international, one of the world’s leading payment solutions providers, the UAE came first among the GCC countries, account for the largest share of around 60% of the total volume of the market, which was valued at $3.3 billion by the end of 2011. The report clarified that around 42 per cent of the UAE population use eCommerce solutions. According to data issued by the Digital Economy Study Center (MADAR), eCommerce in the UAE grows at an annual rate of 15 per cent. This compares to an annual growth rate of no more than 10 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, according to cashU, a secure online payment service provider.

Thesestatistics have significant implications for the national economy in a stage that witnesses an increasing importance of eCommerce asextremely beneficial and an effective tool that can be used by businesses to reach new markets, implement promotional campaigns to attract new customers and rapidly interact with the aspirations and tastes of consumers on a regular basis. In addition, eCommerce solutions offer the possibility of expanding activities without the need to bear more operating costs.Aboveall, dependence on these solutions reduces the chances of human errors.

In general, it can be said that the regional superiority of the UAE in the field of e-commerce is attributed to several important factors. These are:First: the favorable and secure environment provided by the UAEfor practicing eCommerce, starting withthe sophisticated and secure technological infrastructurethrough to compact and flexible  legislation to deployment of technological applications among the various components of the society. This has rendered eCommerce a secure and reliable link for settling transactions between the companies producing or promoting a commodity or service on the one hand and customers on the other.

Second:the awareness of the individuals of the society of the importance of eCommerce as an indispensable tool of the modern age, coupled with their adoption of eCommerce as a way for shopping and fulfilling needs and their great confidence in eCommerce as a secure and reliable alternative in order not to be exposed to the risks of electronic information thefts or commercial fraud.

Third: the great importance of the retail sector as a vital activity and a significant source of income in the national economy coupled with the UAE’s interest in the shopping tourism as an alternative for attractingtourists to it. Thishelped expand the movement of companies operating in the trade and tourism sectorin the UAE and motivated them to invest in the electronic provision of their services and accept online payment alternatives as a substitute for traditional payment for settling their transactions with customers.

Fourth: the attention paid by the UAE to the trade sector, coupled with its distinguished geographical location and its ability to play the role of commercial and financial hub at the regional level. This helped the UAE attract a large number of major international companies that depended heavily on eCommerce solutions for promoting and selling their products in the UAE market or regional markets or contactingtheir branches round the world.

From Akhbar Al Saah bulletin issued by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research
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