Pakistan signs MoU with Alibaba to promote exports through e-commerce

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HANGZHOU: Pakistan on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Alibaba Group Holdings Limited to promote country’s worldwide exports by Small and Medium Enterprises through e-commerce.

The agreement between Alibaba and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan was signed by Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir and Michael Evans, President of Alibaba Group, and Douglas Feagin, Senior Vice President of Global Business of Ant Financial, on behalf of Alibaba, during the visit of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to the headquarters of the company.

Alibaba Group’s Executive Chairman, Jack Ma and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif witnessed the signing ceremony.

Under the terms of the MoU, Alibaba, Ant Financial, and TDAP agreed to foster growth of worldwide exports of products by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Pakistan through e-commerce. Online and offline training programs for the SMEs would also be conducted by Alibaba in a bid to assist SMEs with on-boarding on to Alibaba’s platforms and optimizing exports through e-commerce.

TDAP will help identify suitable SMEs to participate in the training programs while Alibaba will be responsible for providing industry analysis to TDAP to assist them in their selection process.

In addition, Alibaba, Ant Financial and TDAP have agreed to promote the growth of financial services in Pakistan in areas such as mobile and online payment services.

The parties have also agreed to adopt cloud computing services to support the online and mobile e-commerce businesses of SMEs in Pakistan.

Addressing the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the initiative would help create jobs and generate livelihood in the country. He termed e-commerce a catalyst for bringing improvement in Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector, which he said could help promote the disadvantaged segments of the society.

He said digital transactions were a solution for small entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and reach global markets.

The premier expressed pleasure on meeting the founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Jack Ma following their last meeting at Davos this January and said he was impressed by the contribution of the e-commerce giant for the economic uplift of Chinese people.

He highlighted Alibaba Group’s approach of helping out small business enterprisers had a humanistic dimension which was also the pivot of Pakistan government’s policies since 2013.

Nawaz Sharif appreciated Jack Ma for his intention to open an e-platform of Alibaba in Paksitan and said he had earlier directed his office to work out the formalities that resulted in signing of MoU within four months.

He expressed hope that Alibaba Group would launch the project in Pakistan at the earliest.

Jack Ma, well-known for his successes in online trade and mobile payments, said e-commerce had enormous potential to unlock growth in emerging markets.

He said the future of e-commerce looked promising for small businesses and mentioned that nowadays, more and more such entities were incorporating e-commerce platforms as part of their business systems.

He said his company was closely monitoring the progress of Pakistan’s e-commerce sector and wanted to support small scale industries.

Jack Ma apprised the Prime Minister that Alibaba Group was facilitating 60 million companies across the globe and said that around 300,000 consumers from Pakistan had signed with Alibaba for transactions and company’s services.

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