Puan Maria bte Ahmad, respected teachers and my fellow students of Form 1, a
very good morning to all of you.
It is a pleasure to address you this morning. I am here to speak to you about
Electronic commerce which is also known as e-commerce. Being a student myself, I
do not have much personal experience in e-commerce. I have done some airline
bookings, cinema reservations and railway bookings over the net.
Much of what I tell you is the result of research over the internet. E-commerce
has gone from being a novel idea to a reflect billions of dollars in
transactions every single day. For many people, it has become a way of life.
Let me give you an example of e-commerce. The largest movement of people in the
world is when the Chinese leave the cities of China and travel to the rural
areas to celebrate Chinese New Year with their families in the villages and
outlying towns. About a billion people move during these celebrations. Do you
know that more than 70% of them booked their bus, train and other tickets
online? One of the biggest benefits of that is that 700 million people did not
leave their homes to go out and buy a ticket to travel. 700 million people did
not queue up to buy tickets anywhere. This single story of travel tickets sold
during the Chinese New Year is enough to wake us all up to the convenience,
necessity and relevance of e-commerce.
When we go out shopping for gifts for the holidays we are mostly on leave. Being
on leave means zero productivity. With the convenience of online shopping, we
can save the hours that we would otherwise spend driving, hunting for parking
space, buying and physically carrying the purchases to our car. A single working
day is called a man day. Coming back to the example, when the 700 million people
did not take leave to go out and buy gifts but continued working because they
could buy the gifts online, they saved 700 million man days. Can you imagine the
economic benefits of that?
In any business, there are two factors. They are the buyer and the seller. If
you open an online shop, you become a seller. The buyer logs in to your website,
views the things you sell, studies your prices, then goes off to some other
website and compares your prices and guaranteed quality. Then, he makes the
purchase. Now, you as the seller have to make arrangements to send the purchased
goods to the buyer. Offhand it may sound like a very unsafe way to spend money.
But believe me, there are checks and balances in place. It is quite difficult to
cheat in online transactions, simply because all your actions are in the public
domain. There is no place to hide. And there is no running away. In a cashless
society, the minute you buy something with your credit card, you are
automatically declaring where you are.
The internet is full of companies
offering all kinds of services and goods. Besides buying and selling, the
internet is also the ideal place for hotel reservations, airline bookings and
even checking in for your flight. The methodology involved is quite simple. Most
of the websites give simple step by step instructions on how to execute a
purchase of a service or goods. Payment, of course, is by credit card.
Before I conclude, let me give you one more example. Stephen King is a novelist
famous for his horror stories. His works are so sought after that his fans wait
impatiently for each Stephen King novel to be published. His works become best
sellers and usually sell more than a million in the space of six months. More
than ten years ago, he decided to publish his latest novel online. Friends, it
was a best seller and crossed the million mark in just one week! This, my dear
friends, is the past of e-commerce. Can you imagine what the future will be
like? I leave you with that thought.