Beijing (PingWest)- Alibaba Group has expanded its partnership with Yiwu, a city in China’s Zhejiang province that is home to the world’s largest wholesale market, with plans to develop a Digitized Comprehensive Bonded Zone under the eWTP (electronic World Trade Platform ) framework, making cross-border e-commerce more accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at Yiwu.
As part of Alibaba’s effort to digitize trade infrastructure for Yiwu, the comprehensive bonded zone are specially designated commercial areas that offers companies engaged in cross-border trade with favorable taxation policies, eased administrative procedures, integrated logistics and manufacturing facilities.
Under the agreement, a joint venture between Alibaba and Zhejiang China Commodities city group, the operator of Yiwu China Commodities city, will develop eWTP cross-border trade service platform of Yiwu. The one stop platform will help SMEs to digitize trade services including customs clearance, foreign exchange settlement and tax procedures. As a result, it accelerates customs clearance for international shipments.
Also highlighted in the expanded corporation is 20,000 square-meter exhibition areas. The preliminary phase of the exhibition site is set to begin operation in September and will be open to wholesale buyers as well as B2C consumers who want to browse and shop for products.
In a separate announcement on Monday, Alibaba and the municipal government of Yiwu announced that two parties will work together to set up a digital customs clearance port for Yiwu. The clearance port will enable overseas merchants to export product to China in smaller quantities via international parcel delivery by completing customs processes online.
“Alibaba Group and Yiwu both have a long history of enabling small businesses to participate in global trade. Alibaba will work together with Yiwu to further facilitate the city’s transformation into a digitised small commodities trading hub,” said Daniel Zhang Yong, Alibaba’s chief executive.
The eWTP was conceived by Alibaba founder Jack Ma in 2016 as an electronic Silk Road to connect every country and enable SMEs to sell everywhere in the world.
The eWTP can lower barriers to global trade for SMEs via simple digitized service as well as support in logistics, financing, cloud computing and mobile-payment services.
The Yiwu eWTP platform will be the third eWTP trade service platform, following the launch of similar operation in Hangzhou and in Liege, Belgium.
The total value of imports and exports at Yiwu reached CNY296.7 billion-yuan last year, Africa and the Middle East are the city’s two largest trading markets by value, according to official data. Yiwu sells commodities to more than 210 countries and territories, according to State Council data.
Yiwu-based supplier have attracted nearly 3 million active buyers over the past 12 months, while their online transaction via the platform grew by over 82% year-over-year, according to Alibaba.