Alibaba Group and the municipal government of Yiwu, Zhejiang Province in China, have announced the expansion of their strategic collaboration under the electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) framework, to make cross-border e-commerce more accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The eWTP is a private-sector-led, multi-stakeholder initiative that facilitates public-private dialogue and collaboration to share best practices and incubate new trade rules to help develop inclusive trade and the digital economy. To date, Alibaba has joined forces with the governments of Belgium, Malaysia, Rwanda, and Ethiopia as well as Hangzhou and Yiwu in China to establish six eWTP hubs around the world.
This will be the third trade service platform established at an eWTP Hub, following the launch of trade platforms in Hangzhou, China and Liège, Belgium, and will allow Yiwu businesses to access to their counterparts in various other eWTP hubs, allowing them to explore more cross-border opportunities.
The expansion of the strategic collaboration between Alibaba and Yiwu marks the first anniversary of the city’s establishment as an eWTP hub. The partners launched the hub last year to digitise Yiwu’s commerce infrastructure and enable new trade flows and opportunities. According to Alibaba.com, its Yiwu-based supplier members have attracted business opportunities from close to three million active buyers over the past 12 months, generating 82% more online transactions on a year-on-year basis.
A core part of the new initiatives is a joint venture between Alibaba Group and Yiwu-based China Commodities City Group to develop the eWTP cross-border trade service platform of Yiwu. This platform will offer SMEs digitised trade services, including customs clearance, foreign exchange settlement and tax procedures.
As mentioned, the joint venture will also help develop the Yiwu Comprehensive Bonded Zone 1 into one of the country’s most-digitised trade zones. Comprehensive bonded zones in China are special commercial areas that feature favourable taxation and other policies, under the supervision of customs officials.
Alibaba Group and the municipal government of Yiwu have further announced the establishment of the eWTP Yiwu Digital Customs Clearance Port to enable overseas merchants exporting products to China in smaller quantities via international parcel delivery to complete and clear customs processes online.
Other initiatives by Alibaba to support SMEs in Yiwu, especially the post-pandemic recovery phase, include a solution to facilitate cross-border and foreign exchange transactions for SMEs in partnership with the Zhejiang Chouzhou Commercial Bank. A small commodities online trade show, part of Alibaba.com’s series of online exhibitions, will also be held to attract international wholesalers to consider locally produced items from Yiwu.
Source: Alibaba Group
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