Australian businesses are better placed than any in the G20 to take advantage of internet trade, a report commissioned by eBay says.

Australia is better placed than any other G20 nation to take advantage of soaring internet trade, according to a new report.

Cheap, good quality internet, sophisticated regulations, widespread smartphone adoption and advanced electronic payment systems have placed the country atop the inaugural G20 e-Trade Readiness Index, commissioned by e-commerce giant eBay Inc.

“Australia is best prepared to grow global ICT-enabled commerce,” wrote researchers from The Economist magazine’s research unit.

Australia beat the US, South Korea, the UK and Japan, respectively.

Businesses from the top countries tend to generate more sales on eBay and more electronic payments through PayPal, said Tod Cohen, eBay Inc’s deputy general counsel.

“For the first time in history, small and medium-sized businesses are competing on a global scale, with large multinationals,” he said in a blog post.

While there is no comprehensive data on the growth of cross-border internet trade, the number of people with internet access is expected to hit three billion this year, up from about 300 million in 1999, the report said.

By 2020, that figure is expected to hit five billion, presenting huge opportunities for Australian businesses.

But restrictive data regulations, outdated shipping rules that favour large companies at the expense of small businesses, and the lack of decent internet access in developing countries continue to restrict growth, the report said.

Global business leaders convene in Sydney this week for the B20 meeting, where they will work on policy recommendations ahead of the G20 summit in Brisbane in November.