Alibaba have announced an agreement with Belgium that will see a logistics infrastructure support for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) global growth.
The marketplace-owned Cainiao Smart Logistics Network is now working with Belgium’s Liege Airport to construct a 220,000-square-meter shipping hub at the airport. The first investment of €75m which will see the centre being developed in early 2021.
The signed memorandum, which legally binds Belgium to become a member of the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) is designed to promote new international trading deals. The new support-programmed will provide SMEs easier access to international markets by introducing support in logistics, financing, cloud computing and mobile payment services.
“The arrival of Cainiao reinforces the competitiveness of our airport. Several Chinese companies are already here. Other companies will be attracted by the presence of Cainiao and the opportunity for e-commerce growth between Europe and China.”
-Luc Partoune, chief executive officer of Liege Airport
“This will be a huge opportunity to boost exports and bring wide-reaching economic benefits to society, including employment opportunities to Liege. Participation in eWTP underlines our country’s vision to help local small and medium-sized companies to be more competitive in the global marketplace in the digital age.”
-Charles Michel, Prime Minister of Belgium
These news marks a manifestation of Charles Michel’s expressed interest in joining the eWTP programme during a meeting with Alibaba’s chief executive officer Jack Ma. Last week, Alibaba say that they have signed a deal with a ‘European distributor’ whether Belgium is that partner that would help the marketplace move forward with their pan-European expansion plans remains a mystery.
As Alibaba are moving closer to establishing itself in Europe and helping SMEs to grow via the eWTP scheme they will gradually collect a pool of merchants, which will present a competitive advantage against other marketplaces leaders such as Amazon and eBay.