Singapore’s telecommunications operator SingTel announced today that it would partner e-commerce platform Shopify in four Asian countries – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and India – in a bid to broaden the Canada-based service’s reach in the region.

Shopify is an online software-as-a-service e-commerce platform that enables entrepreneurs to create digital shopfronts. Despite being available for anyone who wants to sign up for the service, Shopify has been rather passive in Asia. With SingTel’s backing, however, the service seems set to create more footprint in the region.

Mr Loo Cheng Chuan, SingTel Group Digital Life’s Head (LocalL!fe), said:

SingTel is excited by the tremendous growth opportunities in the e-commerce market. By 2015, 35% of Internet users in the Asia Pacific region will make purchases online, and 30% of these transactions will be performed on a mobile device [citing figures from IDC]… With more than 468 million mobile customers in 25 countries, SingTel is uniquely positioned to enable entrepreneurs to seize opportunities.

The company said that it is currently working with payment providers in each country to enable transactions in local currencies by September.

It will also be negotiating with delivery partners to give small businesses competitive shipping rates, and will provide optional add-on services such as search engine marketing, social network integration, inventory management and email marketing capabilities. Enterprises that sign up with Shopify will also be able to seek help via a local hotline technical support 24/7.

SingTel also told TNW that it will promote Shopify to businesses via online marketing and direct sales channels, and it will work on getting a link up on its website in the near future for customers to easily access the service.

The Singapore and India Shopify websites are currently in operation already, and the service is priced from S$17 (US$13.50) per month. The Malaysia and Indonesia sites will likely go live next month, SingTel said.

Merchants can either access Shopify via a Web browser or smartphone app to customize their online stores, keep track of orders and manage customer data.

Based in Ottawa, Canada, Shopify has powered over 50,000 online stores (ranging from Amnesty International to Angry Birds) and a user base that is spread to 79 countries across the globe since its launch in 2007.

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