Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (MPHIL)

First Advisor

Prof. LU Ming-te

Second Advisor

Dr. YEUNG Wing-lok


Recent development of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) on the Internet, namely Web-based EDI, has enabled small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to have effective document transactions with their trading partners. Many have claimed that the Web-based EDI is the most promising and fast growing IT application for SMEs to improve their business processes. This research study investigates how the Web- based EDI can meet the requirements of SMEs in Hong Kong’s clothing industry. Since the clothing industry is one of the most important exporting industries for Hong Kong, the research results have important implications to Hong Kong’s economy. The major reasons, benefits and barriers of EDI use and the requirements of Web-based EDI for SMEs are examined in the research with the help of questionnaires, in-depth interviews, and secondary data. The survey findings show that nearly 60% of SMEs have already utilized EDI with a government agency, Tradelink, to transfer documents such as import and export declarations and quota licenses. Main reasons for SMEs using EDI with Tradelink include government policy and support, the secure electronic signature in EDI system, and the closure of hands-on declaration stations enacted by the Trade and Industry Department, Hong Kong Government. However, a small percentage of SMEs are using EDI with their buyers or suppliers and other trading partners respectively. Barriers to EDI use include high setup and operating costs, low transaction volume and insufficient IT knowledge. Since some SMEs have already had access to the Internet for information gathering and email, it is expected that the transition to Web-based EDI for them would be relatively easy. To facilitate this transition, the main requirements of Web-based EDI for SMEs are investigated. In addition, the features of Web-based EDI from EDI service providers in Hong Kong are examined.



Recommended Citation

Chiu, K. Y. K. (2001). An assessment of web-based EDI for SMEs in Hong Kong's clothing industry (Master's thesis, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from