Introduction To Offshore e-Commerce - Bahamas Business Guide

To date, companies have tended to focus on marketing and selling as the most likely business functions to locate offshore, but there is no reason why procurement, administration, payroll and other corporate functions should not be based offshore.

Since physical distribution can be outsourced, and in some countries doesn't even amount to a taxable presence, the use of offshore is by no means limited to digitally-downloadable products. Still, there is no doubt that the greatest cost and tax savings are available to those companies whose products can be delivered electronically, as in the following list:

Retail businesses dealing in intangibles or intellectual property, such as software or music
Electronic publishing enterprises
Online reservations
Telecommunications services
Language translation services
Education and Internet-based training
Online gift certificates

Online brokerages and other financial services, including insurance
Legal services
Software and other technical support
Research and online information services
Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
Metamediaries and access portals
Corporate services

Data warehouse centres for processing and storing data
Database management services
Certification and verification services for business and consumer documents
Hubs for secure transactions and communications
Supply chain management centres
Communications and billing hubs for fibre optic and satellite systems
Network monitoring facilities and services

This section of the E-commerce Fact-File concentrates on four of the main business sectors in which offshore e-commerce or e-business development is most likely to take place. See also Case Studies of offshore e-commerce in each of these sectors, and for practical guidance on how to set up offshore e-commerce operations, see our E-commerce Business Guide.

On a technical level, the requirements of an offshore e-commerce operation are no different from those onshore. Essentially they amount to a server, which can be your own or hosted, adequate communications facilities, and the various software elements needed to make a sales offer, take orders and payment for them, and link into other company systems for despatch, procurement or production, inventory, accounting and administration.

Not all offshore jurisdictions have state-of-the-art technical and communications infrastructure, and this is particularly relevant to offshore e-commerce operations, which must be able to rely on secure and flexible technical facilities. Skilled staff may also be in short supply. See our Location section for an extended analysis of how to select a suitable jurisdiction for offshore e-commerce.



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