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Is Malta’s e-commerce industry about to blossom?

Malta has prospered by targeting specific sectors of the economy and by persuading major players in the online gaming and blockchain industries to relocate here.

The country is now home to a significant portion of the European online gaming industry. Likewise, it is becoming the emerging centre for blockchain businesses, competing primarily with Switzerland. 

E-commerce is another opportunity that Maltese policymakers could add to their list of targeted industries. Globally, online retail is worth nearly $2 trillion. Traditionally e-commerce companies have preferred to stay close to their base of distribution, but the general trend is now to outsource logistics and product handling to third parties, allowing the core e-commerce company to focus on its true strengths: technology and marketing.

SerenataFlowers.com is an e-commerce company that has completed this transition and decided to move its base of operations to Malta.

“I’m surprised other e-commerce companies are not following our lead. Perhaps the Maltese authorities need to be more proactive in promoting and attracting other e-commerce platforms to Malta,” says Martin Johansson, managing director of Serenata Flowers.

“For Serenata this has been a winning move. Due to Malta’s quality of life, it is easy for us to attract and recruit foreign talent. The quality of technical development staff already living on the island is also exceptionally high. Compared to being situated on the European mainland, we can therefore find highly competent developers much more easily than we ever could before.

“I believe it is now time for the Maltese government to focus on the ecommerce sector, in the same way it has done with the gaming and financial industries and offer attractive tax incentives for senior management staff. Malta’s population is very small, and to recruit senior retail management we need to go to the European mainline. We find this to be the biggest challenge currently, but if the tax incentives were there, the ecommerce industry on Malta could really blossom,” says Mr Johansson.

Since moving to Malta, Serenata Flowers has increased its head count and is experiencing a healthy growth rate which has seen it move from the 29th largest online flower retailer to the ninth largest in the world in the space of three years. Could eCommerce become a third pillar for Malta’s policymakers and for its economy?

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