In the recent special issue of Information Technology and International Development, Ayesha Zainudeen et al. identified the non-ICT barriers to the spread of e commerce in developing countries, including payment mechanisms when credit cards did not exist and the bad state of the postal services.
The NYT has a fascinating story about how Indian entrepreneurs are combining cheap and plentiful labor and ICTs, to develop workaround solutions.
Several months ago, when Prabhu Kumar could not find a book he wanted in bookstores here, he found it online at Amazon.com for $10. But he had to pay more than $9 in fees to have Amazon ship it to him.
Mr. Kumar, a software programmer, said he would not be doing that again. He now shops on India’s answer to Amazon — FlipKart.com — which delivers books, phones and other items in as little as 24 hours at no extra cost. Mr. Kumar doesn’t have to pay FlipKart a single rupee until a courier bearing his books arrives at his door. He can then hand over cash or a credit card.
“I think it perfectly fits the Indian mentality,” Mr. Kumar said.