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Tuesday, June 22, 1999 Published at 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK

Business: The Company File

UK the place 'for e-commerce explosion'

Intel's e-commerce revenues will hit $15bn this year - from nil last July

US computer giant Intel says Britain could become Europe's hub for the exploding electronic commerce market if it capitalises on its advanced technology and status as a major financial centre.

[ image: Intel Chief Executive Craig Barrett: UK has a unique opportunity]
Intel Chief Executive Craig Barrett: UK has a unique opportunity
Intel Chief Executive Craig Barrett told a conference on technology: "The UK has a unique opportunity to profit and show leadership in the Internet economy.

"By taking advantage of its high international bandwidth capability, the UK can act as the European gateway for international transactions and exchanges over the Internet."

Industry surveys suggest the e-commerce market for home shopping, banking and other services in western Europe will balloon to $223bn in 2002 from $19bn this year.

John Moylan assesses whether British technology companies will exploit their lead in e-commerce
Meanwhile, the US e-commerce market will rise to $843bn - making up an estimated 10% of the country's gross domestic product - compared to $109bn in 1999.

Trading revolution

"I think all of the forecasts are underestimates. (E-commerce) is going to be a bigger phenomenon than any of us estimate," he said during his speech opening the Wall Street Journal Europe's summit on converging technologies.

Mr Barrett was due to meet UK Chancellor Gordon Brown and other government officials later on Tuesday to discuss how Britain can boost its competitiveness in the tech sector.

Intel, the world's biggest computer chip maker, expects its e-commerce related revenues to hit $15bn this year, representing about half of sales, from nil last July, when it made its first e-commerce sale.

Mr Barrett said Intel expects 90% of its revenues to come from e-commerce transactions in the next two to three years.

"Essentially all of our businesses will be conducted in this fashion," he said.

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