unctad.org | Platform-based E-commerce: What is at Stake for MSMEs?
Platform-based E-commerce: What is at Stake for MSMEs?
16 April 2018
Geneva, Switzerland

Key Issues

​Online platforms serve as gateways to cross-border trade for many MSMEs. On the one hand, they reduce transaction costs and facilitate the implementation of internationalization strategies. On the other hand, they largely influence the rules of engagement in the e-marketplace, affecting inclusion, competition, consumer trust, applicable norms and dispute resolution.

This session aims to discuss the engagement of MSMEs with platform-based e-commerce. Among other issues, it aims to explore the following questions:

(i) when large e-commerce platforms are not accessible to MSMEs in developing countries and LDCs, what are the alternatives?

(ii) what are the shortcomings in using social media platforms as a marketplace?

(iii) how does the business model of e-commerce platforms – inventory-based or selling their own products as well as third party products – affects competition?

(iv) how are large platforms integrating emerging technologies, such as big data and artificial intelligence, into their business model and what does it mean for bricks and mortars?

(v) How to make sure that platforms do not abuse their power of rule-setting and provide equal opportunities for the smaller players?

A multi-disciplinary group of experts and practitioners will address these questions. They will be instructed to gear their analysis towards making concrete suggestions or mainstreaming good practices.

Dr. Roxana Radu, Program Manager at the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP) and Internet Governance Associate at DiploFoundation

Ms. Marilia Maciel, Digital Policy Senior Researcher, DiploFoundation
Mr. Julien Grollier, Programme Officer, CUTS International, Geneva
Ms. Marie Sicat, Associate Economic Affairs Officer, ICT Policy Section, Division on Technology 
Dr. Marion Jansen, Chief Economist, International Trade Centre (ITC)

Co-organized with:DiploFoundation, UNCTAD, International Trade Centre (ITC), CUTS International Geneva, Geneva Internet Platform (GIP)
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