Alibaba, the Chinese eCommece giant, inked a deal with the Belgian government on Wednesday (December 5) to create a trading hub aimed at helping Belgian companies sell products around the world.
According to a report in CNBC, citing Alibaba, Belgium is the first European company to come on board with Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP), which was announced back in 2016. The idea is to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) sell products outside of their home countries, something that has been costly and complicated to do. As part of the partnership Alibaba said it will open a warehouse under Cainiao, its logistics unit, in Liege, Belgium, reported CNBC. That will help European businesses to more easily transport goods to China. It’s also part of Alibaba’s aim to help import $200 billion of goods into China over the course of the next five years, reported CNBC. Malaysia and Rwanda have already signed on to the Electronic World Trade Platform, noted the report.
“We strongly believe that under the eWTP, we will open up the huge potential for European businesses to reap the benefits of global cross-border trade, especially into the China market where the demand for European goods is high,” said Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba, according to CNBC.
The partnership with Belgium comes as the eCommerce giant enjoyed brisk sales during its recent Singles Day shopping event. In November it said it set a new Singles Day sales record, generating more than $30.8 billion during the 24-hour shopping event. In Chinese currency, gross merchandise value (GMV) totaled 213.5 billion yuan, beating last year’s figure of 168.2 billion yuan — a nearly 27 percent year-on-year rise. However, it was smaller than the 39 percent year-on-year growth in 2017, according to CNBC. Alibaba’s shopping event had humble beginnings, however: the company took in only $7.8 million in sales on the first event in 2009. Since then, the company said, the number of internet users in China has grown to 802 million. And the company reported that nearly all of those users — 98 percent — are on mobile.