Describes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and covers prominent B2B websites.
Assessment of Current Buyer Behavior in Market
The e-commerce industry is in the early stages of development in Uzbekistan. As of April 2020, the number of internet users is estimated at 22 million – 19 million mobile internet users and 3 million fixed broadband internet users - in a country with 34 million people. The country has been investing in its telecommunications infrastructure, but still ranks only 130th out of 138 countries in mobile internet with 11.78 Mbps download and 6.85 Mbps upload speed. It ranks 93rd out of 174 countries in fixed broadband internet with 28.52 Mbps download and 27.53 Mbps upload speedTo facilitate its development, the government charges only a 2% tax on online revenue, compared to a 4% rate for traditional businesses. Uzbekistan’s laws permit online sales of drugs and medical devices and permits electronic checks and invoices as legal confirmation of payment for goods and services. The Central Bank of Uzbekistan signed a 2019 memorandum of understanding with Visa to develop infrastructure for digital payments, and many banks offer payment software and services to e-commerce websites to facilitate processing of online payments. To increase the number of IT professionals, Tashkent University of Information Technologies opened an e-commerce department in 2018.
Local eCommerce Sales Rules & Regulations
E-commerce is regulated by the Law “On Electronic Commerce” issued on April 29, 2004 and updated in 2015. Under the law, electronic transactions should provide customers with the following information about the seller:
- the full name of the legal entity, with an indication of its organizational and legal form, or the surname, name and patronymic of an individual;
- postal and e-mail address, and information about company’s state registration;
- the availability of a license in cases stipulated by law;
- the procedure for concluding an agreement in e-commerce;
- the possibility and procedure for making changes and additions to the agreement in e-commerce when agreeing on its terms;
- the procedure for sending and withdrawing an acceptance;
- terms of delivery and payment for goods (including works, services), as well as offered prices (including applicable tariffs) for them;
- indications of the conditions included in the agreement by reference to an electronic document posted in a publicly available information resource.
- a record of all electronic documents and messages should be retained.
The Cabinet of Ministers is responsible for implementation of state policy and programs in e-commerce and coordinates the activities of state bodies in this field. The Ministry for Development of Information Technologies and Communications is specially authorized by Cabinet of Ministers to oversee e-commerce.
Online access channels remain underdeveloped, and Internet penetration remains at 22%. While high-speed service is spreading, most users have access only at 3G connection speeds. Rural areas may be out of reach of even cellular networks, and are not wired for landline access.
Local eCommerce Business Service Provider Ecosystem
The most popular online platform is www.glotr.uz, which allows local companies to create websites to sell products and services. Individual-to-individual transactions are more popular on www.olx.uz. Several banks offer entrepreneurs and companies payment tools to set up e-commerce services on their websites and applications, which enable their customers to pay for products and services online. IT Park Uzbekistan, which was created in July 2019, includes 398 resident companies offering different types of digital services. The IT Park administration (email@example.com) can help clients connect to service providers.
The international E-commerce Day conference has been held annually since 2018. The annual ICT Week (organized each September) includes an E-commerce section.