A key trend in the development of modern civilization is consistent and continuous growth of information and knowledge and the role of these in all spheres of economic activities. In fact, many researchers refer to today’s modern society as a ‘post-industrial, ‘informational’ or society based on ‘information economy’.
In the 21th century communication is not simply a sector of economy but almost an economy in itself. It is possible to interpret the information economy as a transition to another form and structure of social relationships, more concerned with the production of information and knowledge.This chapter on ‘Information economy’ as part of this research is focused on the analysis of how government and business use information and communication technologies for cooperation with the society or with each other.
Any commercial activity over the Internet or, on the whole, any type of business process, in which the transaction between the subjects takes place in an electronic environment, can be called as electronic commerce.
Electronic trade and financial transactions started to take place between the business and the last consumer at the beginning of the Internet network development. More recently, the sector of electronic commerce, i.e. the commercial link between consumers and companies (Business-to-Consumer, В2С) is formed by the help of Internet-shops, consumer auctions, trade units, electronic dealers, payment systems and other Internet services for individuals.
The key factors for the development of e-commerce (B2C) are the increased numbers of users of the Internet network, affecting the scope of markets of e-commerce, development of e-payment systems, and also security systems, which allow the realization of electronic transactions.
Aimed at direct sales with the minimal number of mediators for the consumers, B2C gives opportunity to restore competitive prices back to their place and reduce the number and percentage of middlemen, thereby increasing the income of such companies while reducing costs to the customers.
The first attempts to open Internet-shops in Tajikistan started in 2000. However, up to now this kind of business has made any serious development, the reason for which can be a range of objective and subjective factors.
Despite the positive dynamics of network infrastructure development in the country and increase in the number of Internet service users among population, a range of factors have inhibited the growth of Internet shops and it is only recently that e-commerce services such as e-banking have reached a threshold level of implementation.
E commerce has been hampered by undeveloped logistic services. At the moment, in the country there is no nation-wide company that could offer deliver of goods and mail, except national postal service ‘Pochai Tojik’ (Tajik Post), where the quality of service is remains unsatisfactory. Perhaps in near future some progress may take place in this field, i.e. with the initiation of the new transport
company Asian Express Terminal, which started inter-urban passenger transport in March 2013.
Consumer habits of purchase where an opportunity to physically evaluate a product in terms of size, quality, pricing, etc. is a must have also hindered the development of e commerce.
There is still some legal uncertainty about the status of e-commerce; while at the same time both the owners and customers of businesses are subject to various different laws. Many controversial situations arise, which can have different legislative interpretation on the one hand and may be the reason for groundless demands from the business and tax evasion on the other.
For these and some other reasons, at the moment there is no any ??classical?¦ Internet-shop in Tajikistan. In other words, a type of business that presents all important business logic for the management of Internet-business such as selection, order execution and payment of the goods in site via Internet and then delivery of goods does not exist. Moreover, there isn?¦t any bigger form of Internet-business, Trade Internet System (TIS), or back-office which is integrated with trade business-progress companies.
Several existing examples of businesses that possess some of the components of Internetbusiness in Tajikistan can be regarded as ??quasi-Internet-shops?¦. The main difference between them and real Internet-shops is in the problem of payment via virtual accounts. Nowadays the payment is realized offline. In today?¦s world, this problem is solved via the system of electronic purses (KIWI- purse, www.qiwi.ru, WebMoney, etc.).
The quasi Internet-shops that are very close to the notion of Internet-shops in Tajikistan are the following business networks:
- Showroom SAVR (www.savr.tj)
- Network of mobile connection BOOM (www.boom.tj)
- Flower and gifts delivery service in Dushanbe (www.sendflowers.tj)
For example, showroom SAVR differs from classical Internet-shops in that the payment takes place offline (payment in cash). Business network boom.tj has almost the same notion as ‘online shop’, i.e., they have a real shopping portal, but web-portal is also actively used by them and offers a wide range of goods and online order to the clients.
Mainly Tajik trading companies presented on the Internet have so called web shop-windows that provide information about the goods being offered. Such companies have their own shopping centres but online sales appear to be additional method to the traditional ones.
Web shop-windows in Tajik companies operate in a way that by getting needed information about the article of trade from site, it is important to get in touch with the manager of the company for the purchase. The payment, however takes place in the traditional way (offline) in cash or non cash.
The degree of Internet-integration of such companies varies. The ‘advanced’ web shop-windows the following companies (brands), offering their goods and service, including via Internet can be categorized as such:
- mainly selling computers and/or household appliances, additionally mobile phones, etc. (www.bit.tj, www.volna.tj, www.sinon.tj, …);
- ?mainly selling mobile phones, tablet PCs and accessories (www.icom.tj, www.tajset.tj, www.asiaset.tj…);
- ?hotels (www.hoteltojikiston.tj, www.hotel-mercury.tj, www.hyatt.tj, …);
- products of workmanship (www.depamiri.org)
At the very least,, the companies, who in their portals provide first hand information such as price list and specifications of the goods as well as information about the company selling it (address, location, etc.), can be regarded as part of the field of Internet-business. However, they do not always provide a pricelist that can be downloaded as a separate document or offer the opportunity to order online.
The examples of such companies are:
- www.nst.tj, www.fg-group.tj… (computer delivery, office equipment and software)
- www.softline.tj, www.chance.tj… (software, including special-purpose– 1С and etc.)
- www.plazma.tj, www.aloexpress.tj… (mobile phones and accessories)
- www.canon.tj… (video and photo equipment, office equipment, etc.)
Differing from the E-readiness 2010 data, at the moment, several Internet-shops selling stationery are not operating such as (www.nt.tj, www.office-krause.tj), major hotels are not accessible or accessible from time to time (www.vefacenter.tj, www.asiagrandhotel.tj …).
It is important to state that there has been progress of e-tickets services. At the moment, both Tajik airline companies – national air carrier CJSC Tajik Air (www.tajikair.tj) and private operator Somon Air (www.somonair.com) have initiated the service of online booking and online payment via bank cards in their sites.
One of the newest types of service in Tajikistan belonging to electronic business is portal www.arzon.tj, where the service of special discounts is provided. With the help of this service, the users can get discount by using different services such as going to the cinemas, cafes or restaurants, fashion shops and even SPAs.
The discounts are purchased via terminals of e-payment systems (at the moment only TajPay). An SMS with a code is sent to the user’s phone which is a discount coupon that will be shown to the seller of the service (for example, in the selected restaurant). The discounts are offered within a limited period of time and vary in a scope of 15 up to 50% from the base price of the goods and services.
It is worth mentioning that a new service for put classified ads in newspapers has appeared. Reklamnaya gazeta’ (Advertisement newspaper) in its site (http://rg.tj/news/web/) offers new services to its client – by using templates available in the site, users can fill in the advertisement and get information about the price and then receive the payment code and pay via payment terminals.
via – Ereadiness-2012