E-commerce portal launched for local products

There are currently nine merchants with 155 distinct and authentic Bhutanese products

With the launch of the e-commerce portal to enhance access to the international market for our local— ‘Made in Bhutan’—products, local entrepreneurs now can sell their products internationally. 

The Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Bank of Bhutan Limited (BoBL) launched the e-commerce portal, which is expected to address the challenges that entrepreneurs face like payment gateway and certifications of the products. 

The platform is an outcome of the Bhutan Economic Forum for Innovative Transformation (BEIFT) 2019, which was themed ‘Catalyzing Cottage and Small Industries to Drive Bhutan’s Economic Diversification’ and will provide a digital marketing platform for Bhutan’s cottage and small industries. 

Chairman of the Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) Dasho Ugen Chewang said that digitization is one of the initiatives in DHI. 

He said that as physical movements were restricted, this online platform will give better perspective, better view and better purpose for all of us. 

According to the press release from the RMA, e-Commerce has transformed and redefined the traditional way of doing business across the globe, gaining renewed thrust during the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

It also states that given our size and location, the smart application of e-commerce technologies will help Bhutan overcome the barriers and challenges of economic scale and geography to integrate with the global market. 

Officials said that they are confident that this portal will pave the way to promote and build competitive advantages for Bhutanese products and small businesses.  

As partnerships and collective effort were key to develop the e-commerce ecosystem, it has involved the active participation of various stakeholders, such as the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority, the Bhutan Standards Bureau and the Bhutan Postal Corporation Limited. 

Stakeholders have worked on developing the necessary e-commerce policy and regulatory frameworks, product certification and standardization, and logistics to foster trust among consumers and businesses alike. 

The order placement and integration were tested through orders from the Royal Bhutanese Embassies in Bangkok and Brussels and the Bhutanese living in New York and Australia. The orders were successfully delivered although there was a delay in delivery due to the current Covid-19 pandemic. 

The portal will be managed and operated by the BoBL for an initial period of two years, which is expected to provide opportunities and avenues to address challenges for further improvements. Upon expiry of the period, the operation of the portal will be outsourced to interested entrepreneurs or other State-Owned-Enterprises.

Currently, there are nine merchants with 155 distinct and authentic Bhutanese products. 

The portal was developed by a local tech firm, Cloud Bhutan.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu