China followed by Hong Kong are the top two destinations in Asia for e-commerce companies seeking to expand in the region, NTT Communications research shows.

The survey of 200 UK and US merchants across multiple sectors shows that 80% plan to expand their e-commerce businesses in Asia over the next 12 months.

Two-thirds of respondents also expect the volume of their companies' e-commerce transactions in the region to grow by between 10-50% over the next three years.

But merchants also overwhelmingly feel they face multiple barriers to breaking into Asia's e-commerce market, and particularly into China, with 99% indicating that this is the case.

Commonly-faced challenges included local tax regulations and compliance (50%), local market needs (46%), language barriers (44%) and shipping difficulties and costs (42%).

"Asia holds a lot of potential for global e-Commerce merchants, and yet their success is being hindered by a lack of local knowledge necessary in overcoming operational challenges," NTT Com Asia vice president of eBusiness Tyrone Lynch said.

"China, in particular, is in a unique situation where conventional and mainstream payment methods used internationally are not prevalent. Understanding the unique payment landscape in China - while providing consumers with the ability to pay in their preferred local methods - is critical for success in this vast and fast-growing market."

Respondents considered local and global acquirer connections to be among the most important success factors for an APAC e-commerce foray.