As part of its pledge to help import $200bn worth of quality goods to China from across the world over the next five years, Chinese tech giant Alibaba has announced its plans to open the first e-commerce trade hub in Europe in Belgium.
The hub will be set up on Alibaba's Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) and intends to promote inclusive trade. In the press release, Alibaba and the Belgian government committed to co-building a "more inclusive and innovative trade platform that will facilitate greater and more equitable access to cross-border trade opportunities".
The move, which has been made in partnership with the Belgian government, was announced on December 5 and will aim to help SMEs in the country sell their products abroad. The eWTP was first established in China after Alibaba came up with the initiative in 2016 and Belgium is the first European country to sign up so far.
"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.
Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel noted: "This will be a huge opportunity to boost exports and bring wide reaching economic benefits to society, including employment opportunities.
"Participation in eWTP underlines our country's vision to help local SMEs to be more competitive in the global marketplace in the digital age. This is an opportunity for not just the small businesses and young people in Belgium but across Europe."
Malaysia and Rwanda have also used the platform to create their own e-commerce hubs.