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The Landscape Of B2C E-Commerce Marketplaces In East Asia

Project background

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered business strategies, especially for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and consumer behavior. In fact, MSMEs now recognize the potential of e-commerce to aid recovery, facilitate cross-border trade and access to new markets.

However, significant barriers hinder MSMEs’ participation in e-commerce. These barriers include limited internet access, rural-urban connectivity gaps, coordination issues in trade facilitation, slow tech adoption, unreliable delivery services, scant provisions for digital trade in agreements, restricted digital payments, and skill gaps among firms. Addressing these barriers requires a collaborative and well-informed approach, involving policymakers and industry stakeholders.

In particular, comprehensive databases can facilitate a more informed approach to e-commerce activities and policies. Subsequently, governments urgently need help to maintain timely and complete databases on e-commerce markets to allow businesses to take advantage of the growing domestic and international e-commerce markets.

About the project

In order to bridge this information gap and aid all relevant stakeholders, UN ESCAP, International Trade Center (ITC) and the Amsterdam University of Applied Science has conducted a one-of-a-kind regional study to create a database mapping Asian e-commerce marketplace and their characteristics. The project is funded by the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC).

An e-commerce marketplace is defined as:

                                                                         A platform accessible through a website facilitating the trade in goods between businesses and consumers (B2C).

Interesting for whom?


The marketplaces database benefits policy makers, entrepreneurs and marketplace owners.


The final database includes characteristic information on 1559 relevant, unique, and active business to consumer (B2C) goods marketplaces operational, both of domestic and global focus. The database covers 11 East Asian countries:

1. Brunei Darussalam

2. Cambodia

3. Indonesia

4. Lao P.D.R.

5. Malaysia

6. Mongolia

7. Philippines

8. Republic of Korea

9. Singapore

10. Thailand

11. Viet Nam     


Data collection for the database was conducted in four phases
  • Initially, the Centre for Market Insights (CMI) of Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences using tools like SimilarWeb, identified 15,288 potential business-to-consumer (B2C) marketplaces.

    • The database specifically focuses on online marketplaces facilitating trade between businesses and consumers (B2C) in physical goods, excluding purely business-to-business (B2B), consumer-to-consumer (C2C), and service-oriented platforms.
  • Following a manual inspection by trained coders, the final database was produced, providing information on 1,559 relevant marketplaces across the 11 East Asian countries.
  • Traffic data from 2019 to 2022 and other economic indicator data was collected for these relevant marketplaces and countries.

Drawing upon this new comprehensive database, the Asian Marketplace explorer dashboard, main report and country briefs have been developed.