Singapore (VNA) – Singapore wants to become a leading e-commerce hub in Asia, but there may be challenges ahead, US-based CNBC news channel reported.

As the pandemic reshapes consumer behaviour worldwide, more and more people in the region are shopping online and Southeast Asia’s digital economy saw significant growth.

Some 40 million new users in the region joined the internet last year, according to an e-commerce report on Southeast Asia by Google, Temasek and global consultancy Bain & Company. 

About 36 percent — or more than 1 in 3 digital service consumers — were new to online services. Among them, 90 percent intend to continue using these services even after the pandemic, the report said.

According Selena Ling, chief economist at OCBC Bank in Singapore, to capitalise on these trends, Singapore needs to combine several factors to fuel that growth.

They include a fairly internet savvy population, high mobile penetration (and) good internet connectivity which is affordable, she said.

As part of Singapore’s e-commerce strategy, the government plans to launch two 5G networks across the city-state by 2025. They will “form the backbone” of Singapore’s digital economy and boost the infrastructure’s capacity to manage large online sales orders internationally, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

However, Singapore faces a skills shortage for digital talent — and that’s critical for its ambition to become a global e-commerce player, said Ben King, country director at Google Singapore.

To address the issue, the government partnered with Google under the Skills Ignition SG initiative, to provide jobs training for those looking for a digital career./.