THE Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI) is helping smaller firms penetrate the booming Chinese e-commerce market.

The SCCCI's annual Singapore-China Business Forum yesterday involved industry leaders and experts explaining how companies here can utilise China's e-commerce platforms to access a market valued at 2.8 trillion yuan (S$613 billion) last year.

They also discussed cross-border transactions, logistics and e-payments.

SCCCI president Thomas Chua said Singapore lags in e-commerce: "According to statistics, e-commerce accounts for only 3 per cent of Singapore's retail market, while it is 10 per cent in China and 12 per cent in South Korea."

He noted that consumers here can use international e-commerce platforms that are already established, such as Amazon and eBay, to make purchases.

Singapore is a compact place where people can get around easily for shopping.

The event yesterday included the launch of the China Network@SCCCI WeChat platform, which uses the Chinese text and voice messaging service.

Using social media in this way was part of the memorandums of understanding signed between SCCCI and nine China representative offices in Singapore in 2013.

They aim to help local businesses expand into China by sharing information on business and market trends.

The WeChat platform also enables Chinese businesses to use Singapore as a platform for their ventures abroad.

SCCCI vice-president Roland Ng said there are a few challenges in using the e-commerce platform.

"The biggest problem the smaller firms are facing is the logistics issue. For us, the market in Singapore is very small."

He suggested that businesses could co-operate and have a single combined service provider.

Mr Ng also singled out the payment mechanism as another challenge.

He added that information-sharing is just an initial stage in the larger plan.

"Slowly, the chamber is looking at an interactive website. We are thinking of getting members to share their information and, at the same time, share about certain issues such as the costs involved."