Alibaba.com a “Digital Trade Summit” in collaboration with TDAP, Ministry of Commerce & Pakistan’s Consul General in China on 29th April 2021. The event was well attended by SMEs across the country who had the opportunity to understand the latest intelligence on export opportunities, hear from fellow SMEs on how to trade effectively across borders and learn how they can ride on e-commerce trends fast emerging in an increasingly digitalized and globalized world.
For the very first time, the Alibaba.com event was graced by three senior government representatives who shared more about how SMEs in Pakistan can find success by going online today.
The summit kicked off with an overview of the global trade and export e-Commerce landscape by Abdul Kareem Memon, Director General, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), and the vast opportunities available for SMEs to leverage the national export momentum already underway. “There are bright opportunities and immense possibilities for Pakistan in the e-commerce market. Our strategic location also gives us an edge to export to landlocked countries in Central Asia. With such potential within our reach, we are working towards building partnerships and ventures through our economic trade zones, and attracting the right kinds of investments to make our mark in the e-commerce industry,” he said.
Ayesha Humaira, Joint Secretary of WTO at the Ministry of Commerce, aligned the global trends with Pakistan’s official e-commerce policy, the overall Digital Pakistan masterplan and how both can support SMEs in going online and going global. “The launch of our e-commerce policy in 2019 was very timely, coming at a time when more businesses were realizing the importance to transition to selling online. Navigating this new space of digital connectivity can be foreign and challenging, and we are keen to bring more SMEs onboard Alibaba.com and support them with an environment and ecosystem that empowers them to start their digitalization journey and succeed in their e-commerce ambitions,” she said.
Rounding off the insights and intelligence provided, Hussain Haider, Consul General of Pakistan in China, touched on the strong bilateral relations with China – a vast market for goods from around the world – and the promising collaboration efforts between both economies that will generate sustained export opportunities for SMEs. “China is Pakistan’s largest trading partner, and in recent years our partnership has only strengthened through increased cooperation via our Free Trade Agreement and Economic Corridor. As we make more builds into e-commerce export, we hope that this will not only attract more investment opportunities, but also deepen our bilateral trade partnership with China and become a facilitator of global supply in the years to come.”
Stephen Kuo, Head of APAC for Alibaba.com, delved deeper into the key trends in the global B2B export market and what global buyers are looking for. “The online export business has become the new normal, and the pandemic has entirely changed the export business model as we know it. Going online is the most efficient way for SMEs to achieve their business goals in the new age, and we strongly encourage Pakistani SMEs to seize this chance to take their business global through Alibaba.com,” he said.
The summit also featured sessions with two successful local suppliers, Unique Gym Wear, a manufacturer of gym apparel and Impex Pakistan, a manufacturer and exporter of Himalayan salt crafts, onyx marble and semi-precious gemstones.
Mian Amin, Chief Executive Officer of Unique Gym Wear, shared frankly on how the pandemic forced him to invest more in e-commerce and the successes he secured rapidly by doing so. “The lockdown severely affected our business, and we quickly realized that our existing business model was no longer sustainable. I took a risk and decided to sell through Alibaba.com, and that has paid off. We were able to access a new pool of global customers online that we previously had no access to, and address the changing attitudes of buyers especially after the pandemic,” he said.
Haider Ali, Chief Executive Officer for Impex Pakistan, shared tips and tricks for new sellers to succeed online, leveraging his own experiences in exporting effectively through e-Commerce. “Being able to export globally online through Alibaba.com has been key to helping our business survive and grow even during COVID-19. But securing long-term success still requires any SME to start from the bottom and adapt continuously to new ways of meeting our buyer’s demands. Alibaba.com was able to provide many of the insights and intelligence we needed to succeed as a global exporter, and I hope to do the same for other SMEs through conducting training sessions over the platform,” he said.
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