Alibaba strikes e-commerce hub deal with Belgium
Written by Hannah McGrath
Alibaba Group has reportedly signed an agreement with the Belgian government to establish an e-commerce trade hub in the country, as the Chinese retail giant eyes expansion of its European services.
The project, which will include new investment in logistics infrastructure for e-commerce operations, is part of Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform (EWTP). Similar agreements have already been signed in Malaysia and Rwanda.
As part of the agreement with Belgium - its first in Europe - Cainiao, Alibaba group’s logistics arm, will lease 220,000 square meters of space at Liege airport and investment $85 million. The project is set to begin operations in 2021, according to a statement from the company seen by Reuters.
“We strongly believe that under the EWTP, we will open up the huge potential for European businesses to reap the benefits of global cross-border trade, especially into the China market,” Daniel Zhang, Alibaba’s chief executive, is quoted as saying.
The project is aimed at helping countries reduce trade barriers for e-commerce, such as tariffs and customs waiting times. It is intended to 'compliment' the World Trade Organisation, Alibaba has previously said.
Retail Systems has contacted Alibaba Group for comment.