Illustrative image. (Photo: mmbiztoday.com)

Hai Phong (VNA) – The northern port city of Hai Phong ranked third in the 2017 e-Business Index (EBI), and though local infrastructure is all set for e-commerce, few companies are ready to trade online.

According to Deputy Director of the e-Commerce Centre at the municipal Department of Industry and Trade Le Duc Truong, some 22,000 businesses have registered to operate in the city but only 320 have e-commerce websites registered with the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

A recent survey in Hai Phong shows that 100 percent of local firms use email and search for information on the internet, however, only 4.4 percent of them are on electronic trading platforms and 14.8 percent have e-commerce websites, Truong said.

While there is a growing trend of mobile shopping, up to 89 percent of the companies have yet to develop a mobile commerce website and 95.2 percent have yet to take part in mobile-based trading, he added.

Though smartphones are the most popular tool to make online purchases in the city and more and more businesses accept card payments, most customers prefer cash.

To fully tap local e-commerce potential, Truong advised firms to be more active in applying e-commerce and provide more solutions to help customers shop online, particularly in transportation and e-payment.

He also suggested local authorities help the firms solve difficulties in this matter and play a greater role in promoting e-business.

Hai Phong is a high potential market with more than 2.1 million people, not to mention those living in neighbouring provinces of Thai Binh, Quang Ninh and Hai Duong who come to the city.

​The city produced the most impressive growth in the overall e-business development as the city’s EBT jumped from fifth to third place last year, behind only HCM City and Hanoi, the Vietnam E-commerce Association (VECOM) announced at the recent Vietnam Online Business Forum.

The EBI was first published in 2012, aiming to evaluate the use of e-commerce and compare development among localities. The index is based on four criteria: information technology infrastructure and human resources, transactions between businesses and customers (B2C), transactions between businesses and businesses (B2B) and transactions between businesses and state agencies (G2B).-VNA