Alibaba to open ecommerce facility in Belgium focused on international trade
Alibaba Group has announced that it will open a trade hub for its ecommerce operations in Belgium
In a report posted on Alizila, Alibaba’s news website, the conglomerate said it signed a deal with Belgium’s government on 5 December that will see it join the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) founded by Jack Ma in 2016.
The eWTP initiative aims to make it easier for small and medium-sized firms to sell goods internationally through ecommerce.
By offering straightforward regulations, SMEs can access new markets more easily with the eWTP initiative.
Alibaba will construct and operate a logistics warehouse in Belgium through its Alibaba Logistics subsidiary, which will provide ongoing financial, cloud, mobile payments and logistical support.
- $100mn Japan Trailblazer Fund launched by Salesforce Ventures
- SoftBank Vision Fund to open China office
- Tencent Music launches $1.2bn IPO on NYSE
According to Alizila, CEO Daniel Zhang said that 98% of European companies are small businesses, and that the partnership with Belgium will enable Alibaba to take a step closer to becoming a “Gateway to China”.
Alibaba recently announced its intention to import US$200bn in goods from international markets over the next five years to help foster Chinese trade relationships.
“We strongly believe that under the eWTP platform, we will open up the huge potential opportunities for European SMEs to reap the benefits of global cross-border trade, especially into the China market where the demand for European goods is high,” Alizila reported Daniel Zhang as saying.
Alizila added that Alibaba’s Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has reached an agreement with Belgium’s Liege airport to build a shipping hub on its site, with operations expected to begin in 2021.
Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek
Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.
Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.
Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.
Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.
As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.
It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.
But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.
As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.
So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.