43rd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Peripheries, Centres, and Spatial Development in the New Europe", 27th - 30th August 2003, Jyväskylä, Finland
Since the Internet has become a business tool instead of merely a research network, both large and small businesses have the opportunity to explore how to use it in order to become more productive and competitive. At the same time, media reports have speculated how the Internet will allow businesses to access a global-wide customer base up to millions. It is now better known that although there may be a large number of users on the Internet and that the potential of doing business with these users does exist, it is nonetheless not straightforward, or at least getting business directly from the Internet is not as simple as it was first thought. Advertising and broadcasting "make-money-fast" opportunities only end up attracting disapproval instead of actual business. However, does it mean that the once-promising global network has lost its charm; or rather that harnessing the potentials of the Internet requires a more in-depth learning process' With the newer concepts such as the intranet or even the extranet, there are more opportunities to exploit the Internet technology beyond its existence as a common global network to encompass enterprise-wide networks and inter-organisational systems. Given all these developments, what are the effects on small businesses as traditional commerce, can small businesses use the Internet to become more competitive and responsive to the global market? No doubt, the Internet is ushering in an age of sweeping change that will leave no business or industry untouched. Like a central nervous system, the Information Highway courses around the globe, making all manner of commerce instantly possible. As a final conclusion we can say that the objective of this article is to show the regional asymmetry in Portugal in the use of Internet and make a brief characterisation of the influence in the use of Internet on the traditional commerce. We will use data from INE to show these asymmetries and compare districts.