UK leads Europe in online trading



The UK leads Europe in internet access for businesses and online trading, according to a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) report which found that...



The UK leads Europe in internet access for businesses and online trading, according to a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) report which found that 81% of UK businesses are now online, compared with 63% last year.

The latest figure for UK businesses is comparable to that of the US and ahead of Germany and Sweden.

The study - Business in the Information Age - International Benchmarking Study 2000 - also found that 1.7 million small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are now online. The number has virtually trebled since last year, exceeding government targets of 1.5 million by 2002.

Nine out of ten UK office workers now have access to the internet. Nearly all businesses (96%) have access to the Internet in Greater London, but the Yorks/Humber area (84%) and the North East (82%) are not far behind.

Although the report has shown that government e-business expectations have been surpassed, questions have arisen over the way the report defines what constitutes an "online business".

The DTI defines a business as being online or connected if it uses e-mail frequently or uses Electronic Data Interchange . However, only just over half of UK firms have a website and only 27% actually trade online.

The report coincides with the launch of the Internet Mentoring Initiative, a £5.5m government drive to help established SMEs get online.

Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

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