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Singapore has a highly developed and open economy. The country, which has the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in Southeast Asia, is also well-known for its corruption-free environment. The main drivers of the growth of the Singaporean economy include the manufacturing, finance and insurance sectors (Ministry of Trade and Industry 2017). The Singapore population is highly educated and tech-savvy, with a literacy rate of 97.0 per cent amongst residents aged 15 years and above (Department of Statistics Singapore n.d.), and 84 per cent of the population are internet users in 2016 (IMDA 2018). The Singapore government has encouraged Singaporean businesses to venture into overseas markets by taking advantage of new opportunities in the digital economy and build strong capabilities in innovation and enterprise (Budget 2017). These conditions make Singapore a conducive environment for the growth and development of e-commerce.
This chapter provides an analysis of the current state of e-commerce in Singapore from a number of perspectives. The outline of this chapter is as follows. After defining e-commerce in Section 2, the state of e-commerce infrastructure is discussed in Section 3. The size of Singapore's e-commerce is examined in Section 4. The evolution of e-commerce in terms of the major players in the industry is discussed in Section 5. Government policies, as well as the laws and regulations governing e-commerce in the country, are covered in Sections 6 and 7, respectively. Competition law and policy-related issues are discussed in Section 8. Factors that can impede and restrict the opportunities for e-commerce growth in Singapore are discussed in Section 9. Finally, Section 10 concludes by presenting policy recommendations for the further development of e-commerce in Singapore.
E-commerce refers to the sale and purchase of goods and services over the internet and includes ancillary activities which support such transactions. E-commerce transactions can take place between businesses and consumers (B2C), between businesses (B2B) or between the government and businesses (G2B); between consumers (C2C) whereby consumers buy and sell directly to each other through platforms such as eBay; as well as between the government and citizens via the offering of e-Government services.
The merger provisions in the Singapore Competition Act (Cap 50B) (‘the Act’) came into force on 1 July 2007 and only apply to mergers implemented after 1 July 2007. Under these provisions, mergers that may result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market in Singapore are prohibited.
The merger regime, which is administered by the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS), provides for a voluntary rather than a mandatory notification process. However, notification of a merger to the CCS is possible and is even recommended when the market share of the merged entity meets an indicative threshold, as this will suggest that the merger is likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition (SLC).
From the merger regime’s coming into force on 1 July 2007 to the end of 2009, 15 mergers had been notiied to the CCS. All these mergers but one have been declared as not infringing the merger prohibition in the Act.
This chapter provides an overview of the operation of the merger provisions in Singapore. It does not discuss the provisions of the Takeover Code, which typically applies to all mergers and acquisitions.
The Singapore Competition Act (Cap. 50B) (the “Act”) was passed into law in October 2004. The Act has been brought into force in phases. In phase 1, the provisions establishing the Competition Commission of Singapore (the “CCS”) and the Competition Appeal Board first came into force, respectively on 1 January 2005 and on 1 September 2005. In phase 2, the provisions relating to anti-competitive agreements (the section 34 prohibition) and abuse of dominance (the section 47 prohibition) came into force on 1 January 2006. The merger provisions, which are also regulated by the Act, were brought into force as part of phase 3 of the implementation of the Act.
The Merger control regime of Singapore applies only to mergers that have occurred after 1 July 2007, i.e. where control has not passed or was not acquired or transferred before 1 July 2007. However, it is important to note that where the documentation in relation to the merger has been executed before 1 July 2007 but control has not passed before 1 July 2007, the merger would still be reviewed under the regime.
Although the notification of a merger is not compulsory under the Act, the CCS encourages merger parties to notify their merger situation when an indicative threshold is met, as this will suggest that the merger is likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition (SLC).
This chapter provides an overview of the operation of the merger provisions in Singapore.
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