E-commerce takes off in Kazakhstan, citizens double number of purchases

NUR-SULTAN – The number of e-commerce purchases in Kazakhstan jumped from 1.3 million in 2017 to 2.3 million in 2018.

Photo credit: static.zakon.kz.

Government officials attribute the increase to the Digital Kazakhstan state programme begun at the end of 2017.

“Today, we see a positive effect from the work being done. In 2018, the volume of the e-commerce market increased by two times compared to 2017 and reached 269 billion tenge (US$707.1 million),” said Aizhan Bizhanova, Director of Trade Activities Regulation Department of the Ministry of National Economy, said.

A roadmap for the development of electronic commerce for 2018-2020 has been developed to implement the programme. It includes 28 events in five areas: legislative regulation of electronic commerce, development of payment systems in electronic commerce, improving digital and financial literacy of population and entrepreneurs, promotion of electronic commerce and logistics infrastructure development.

According to Bizhanova, e-commerce accounts for 2.9 percent of total retail. More than 1,700 online stores operate on the market, including those eligible for tax breaks under the country’s latest tax code.

Bizhanova said Kazakhstan is utilising the experiences of other countries in developing its e-commerce industry.

“Firstly, the development of infrastructure, which includes the improvement of tax and customs administration, logistics and non-cash payments. And secondly, on the subsequent popularisation of e-commerce, which envisages mass education of commerce through the Internet, accounting for e-commerce entities, comprehensive provision of public and business access to the Internet, and improvement of consumer protection institutions,” she explained.

The Kazakh government is also working to improve electronic commerce tools and to establish electronic trading platforms and electronic information platforms. It is also strengthening the institution of consumer rights protection in electronic commerce and is simplifying the procedure for declaring goods for export for individuals. Individuals can now send goods abroad using postal documents as a declaration of goods.

Also, the government is creating transport and logistic storage centres to help local businesspeople export goods.

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