BLOG SURF: Digitizing trade

Over 31 million consumers in Viet Nam researched or purchased a product online in 2015. Just ten years ago, internet connectivity was only starting to become common.

Digitization is changing how people trade. There are even more dramatic changes happening under the hood. The way trade is financed, processed and regulated has entered a period of disruption.

We take this opportunity to consider the short and long term implications of digitization of the trade process. They’re not what you’d expect.

Digitization and related technologies have already improved development outcomes, even where existing infrastructure appeared to be a binding constraint. For instance, biometric IDs enable 1.009 million Indians to access social services.

The number of digital finance users in Asia doubled from 2011 to 2014, despite bank density remaining below the global average. Trade is a document-intensive process, which slows processing time.