Monday, May 26, 2008

Boosting Ukraine's market efficiency with e-commerce

A former colleague of mine at Sonopia in Ukraine, Vasily Burov, just launched a new e-commerce site called ВСЕАВТО (trans. All Cars) for people looking to buy or sell their cars. Vasily is a bright, entrepreneurial guy who earlier created and sold one of the most popular consumer websites for "everything mobile" called Мабила.

While websites like this launched in more developed markets years ago, this is something innovative for Ukraine. I've never had to buy or sell a car here, I know that overall market efficiency in Ukraine is extremely low. Unfortunately, Internet penetration is also low. No more than 10% of the population has access, let alone know what to use it for. However, Internet usage is growing rapidly as is broadband access. I'm interested to know if he plans to create a mobile version? Mobile penetration, of course, is much higher - around 70% of the population - and I'd say at least half of the mobile devices can access the Internet.

E-commerce, m-commerce and online marketing are still in their infancy in Ukraine, but the affluent and younger generation of Ukrainians are tech-hungry and tech-savvy so I think we're going to see a lot happening in these areas over the next 5 years.