Net drives new 'spice routes'

David Marcus is the president of PayPal.
David Marcus is the president of PayPal.

A study shows that internet-powered shopping across national borders has created "modern spice routes" holding wealth for local merchants who tap into the booming trend.

Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, Germany, China, Britain and the United States will see a combined total of US$105 billion ($131 billion) in "cross-border online shopping" this year and that figure should nearly triple to US$307 billion in the next five years, says Nielsen research commissioned by internet financial transactions service PayPal.

"Traditionally, the small merchant was left out," PayPal president David Marcus said of local shops competing globally for customers. "Here comes the internet, and small merchants can basically make the world their backyard market."

Of the markets studied for a report, entitled Modern Spice Routes, the US was the most popular cross-border shopping destination, followed by Britain, China and Hong Kong.


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