Alibaba moves to attract Pakistani exporters towards B2B portal

March 27, 2018

KARACHI: Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group geared up efforts to get Pakistan’s exporters listed on its multination business-to-business electronic portal, the company’s senior...

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KARACHI: Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group geared up efforts to get Pakistan’s exporters listed on its multination business-to-business electronic portal, the company’s senior executive said on Monday, after the firm expressed its intention to acquire a Norwegian telco’s financial subsidiary in the country.

Alibaba.com's Country Manager Jason Jia said the group has launched Pakistan pavilion on the website to showcase indigenous product listings following the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and Alibaba Group signed a pact to improve the country’s ecommerce and boost exporters’ business last year.

“We want to work together to introduce Pakistani products to the world markets,” Jia said, addressing a roadshow for Karachi-based businessmen who constitute a negligible portion of the platform’s registered suppliers.

Currently, there are 3,000 paid members and most of them are based in Sialkot, Lahore and Faisalabad, while textile, leather, surgical instruments and sports goods sectors are the top categories. Even before the launch of Pakistan’s page, Alibaba has been attracting local buyers and suppliers. Overall, it has around 250,000 registered members from Pakistan. The site charges up to $1,500 annually from featured suppliers. Alibaba also signed up five local partners, including NJ Dynamic Solutions, EB Excels, NextBridge, Alpharex International and Trademor to provide sales and service support to member companies.

“We are looking for more from Karachi, especially apparel and garments sector,” Jia said, referring to more than three million small and medium businesses in the country.

Multilingual Alibaba.com is the world’s leading business-to-business portal operating in 190 countries. It has two million online shops and 260 million plus buyers from across the world.

Mohammad Zia, a rock salt trader posed trust on the site’s capacity to generate orders for his start-up. “I have generated a good number of orders,” Zia said, declining to share the numbers, but added that his company grew to 10-worker payrolls from four in the past two years.

Zia said payment from foreign buyers gives him jittery and “so, if Alipay comes in there will be a much relief”. “Currently, we receive payment from banking channels, and Alibaba’s involvement in payment too will make all the things integrated,” he added.

Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, agreed to acquire 45 percent stake worth around Rs20 billion in a subsidiary of Norwegian Telenor to broaden access to financial services through digital payment solutions in Pakistan. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals. Ant’s technology Alipay, the world’s largest digital payment platform, would bring mobile payment and inclusive financial services to individuals as well as small and micro businesses in Pakistan where 90 percent of online orders of around Rs10 billion are fulfilled using cash-on-delivery.



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