Ecommerce: the future of doing business in PNG


The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the development of e-commerce in Papua New Guinea and around the world – and more is yet to come.

Tapioca Delight’s staff is receiving top qualifications in the industry. Tapica Delight is the first SME in PNG to accept online debit and credit card payments. Credit: Tapioca Delight

Papua New Guinea’s move towards online banking and e-commerce is accelerating, in part because of the effect of the COVID-19 crisis. Business and banking initiatives are also intensifying. According to the Bank of Papua New Guinea’s December 2020 Quarterly Economic Bulletin, the pandemic has pushed consumers towards online options, boosting the overall market. Retail sales increased by 3.1 per cent in 2020, compared to a decline of 0.5 per cent in 2019, ‘mainly attributed to higher online spending.’

The banks are acting quickly to provide internet options in an effort to expand their market in PNG’s chronically under-banked population. They also have an eye on reducing the capital costs associated with running physical outlets, something that is notoriously expensive because of the country’s difficult geography.

Kina Bank offers retail mobile banking and personal online banking. The bank has established an Internet Payment Gateway (IPG) service that allows customers to use ATM cards for online payments, which is more cost-effective and allows all of the bank’s customers to pay for goods and services online. Users will get an SMS message or a WhatsApp message to securely validate their transactions.

Bank South Pacific has launched its BSP Pay service. The bank says it has 200,000 debit cards in circulation but over 1.8 million bank accounts; the move is designed to entice those extra 1.6 million customers to use an online payment system instead of going into the physical bank. It is expected that mobile payments will become the customers’ preferred purchase option.

BSP offers full-service personal internet banking and is moving into providing online commerce services. In 2020 Tapioca Delight, a bakery and catering company, became the first SME in PNG to accept online credit and debit card payments through Bank South Pacific’s online payment gateway.

Elsewhere, progress is patchy. Moniplus provides its products (personal loans, asset finance, term deposits and foreign exchange) online. But the rollout of online services has a long way to go with many of PNG’s 13 licensed financial institutions, 16 savings and loans societies (SLS) and over 70 small community-based non-government organisations.

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Online retail

On the other side of the ledger, online retailing has surged, helped by the pandemic. Many of the international online shopping options were already available, such as, and But more PNG options are springing up as the market matures.

Bzzmart is a PNG-based online market that sells food, consumer products, electronics, auto and motorcycles. The company claims to undertake quality control on the products before it offers them to customers.

Another online market place that launched recently in PNG with a very local focus is Jungle. Like Bzzmart, the company claims that it checks all vendors on its site, and that only businesses registered with the Investment Promotion Authority are permitted to have a storefront. The site has 18 different product categories and uses Kina Bank’s online payment platform.

The most established online player in PNG is Fortuna Online, which offers supermarket products, beverages, computers, clothing, pharmaceuticals, furniture, vehicles and spare parts. The site uses credit cards or mobile phone payments.

Smaller niche players are also emerging. Barata, an online apparel-shopping site (or is an innovative option. The word ‘barata’ means ‘brother’ or ‘friend’ in Tok Pisin. The company started selling in shopping centre car parks, then expanded by creating strategic partnerships with retailers in Port Moresby and Lae. It now offers bucket hats, fitted caps, shorts, board shorts and T-shorts online.

A slightly different online service is POSS (PNG Online Shopping Services), which buys products in Australia and then ships them to most PNG cities and towns.

About 85 per cent of PNG’s population does not have a bank account and only 18 per cent live in urban areas where the traditional banks are concentrated. But mobile phones are widely used and the Central Bank is moving to exploit this. Loi Bakani, outgoing Governor of the Bank of PNG, has said a range of innovative technological solutions are being explored to increase the population’s access to financial services and ability to do business. These initiatives include trials of blockchain and the use of digital IDs. There is still a lot to come in PNG’s online world.

The article ‘The future of doing business’ was first published in the February/March 2022 issue of PNG Now, Papua New Guinea’s leading lifestyle magazine.


  1. I really want to be trained on how I can start up my e commerce business. Can someone assist me,

  2. grossworth says

    Its very important to educate png on this

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