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 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 programmes for the SMEs would also be conducted by Alibaba in a bid to assist SMEs with on-boarding on to Alibaba’s platforms and optimising exports through e-commerce.
TDAP will help identify suitable SMEs to participate in the training programmes 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 MoU signing ceremony, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he was the firm believer of political empowerment of people through economic development and would encourage e-commerce in the country as a tool to help small businesses go global.
Nawaz said the initiative would help create jobs and generate livelihood in the country. He termed e-commerce a catalyst for bringing improvement in 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.
He 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.
Nawaz said 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 appreciated Jack Ma for his intention to open an e-platform of Alibaba in Pakistan 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 Pakistanb’s e-commerce sector and wanted to support small-scale industries.
He 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.
Jack Ma lauded that small craft factories flourishing in Pakistan and mentioned the country’s world famous products particularly footballs and Himalayan pink salt.
He emphasised that paying special attention to the youth in Pakistan, being two-third of country’s population, could make them more productive for national economy.
The Alibaba founder said close collaboration between Pakistan and China in commerce could turn the “iron brothers into golden brothers”.
PAK-CHINA FRIENDSHIP STRENGTHENING WITH TIME: PM
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the friendship between Pakistan and China had stood test of times and was further strengthening for the benefit of their people and the entire region.
In a meeting with Secretary of the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China Che Jun here, the two leaders discussed matters of mutual interest and bilateral relations between Pakistan and China.
Nawaz said Pakistan and China are iron brothers and would continue to extend cooperation at all international fora.
He said CPEC was the flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative, adding the two countries were standing together for the prosperity and well- being of their people.
Che Jun welcomed the prime minister and said Pakistan and China had their relations based on history and culture and said both the nations had deep-rooted connections which had transformed in people-to-people relationship.
He apprised the prime minister about the economic stability of Zhejiang province, which he said was an economic hub and historically was part of the Silk Route.
Che Jun said the business community in Pakistan and the Chinese province of Zhejiang had strong links and stressed that trade cooperation must be enhanced.
He expressed confidence that the prime minister’s visit to China and to Zhejiang would strengthen trade ties between the two countries.
PM IN HONG KONG
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in Hong Kong Tuesday on the second leg of his visit to China.
During his stay in Hong Kong, he will address One Belt One Road - Pakistan Investment Forum which will be participated by leading business companies of Hong Kong and Mainland China.
The focus of the Forum will highlight business opportunities, emerging from the CPEC under the One Belt One Road initiative.
The Investment Forum is being organised by Consulate General of Pakistan in Hong Kong in collaboration with the Government of Hong Kong SAR.