Published: 6:00pm, 12 May, 2020
Updated: 6:00pm, 12 May, 2020
South China Morning Post
- The event, which will last until May 24, is expected to attract the participation of about 200,000 wholesalers each day
- China’s total foreign trade in the first quarter fell 6.4 per cent year on year amid weak global demand due to antivirus measures adopted in the US and Europe
Alibaba.com, the business-to-business (B2B) online marketplace owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, launched its first global online trade show on Monday to help coronavirus-hit foreign trade merchants reach customers in China after most physical exhibitions have been cancelled due to the pandemic.
The event, which will run until May 24, is expected to attract the participation of about 200,000 wholesalers each day, with 20 such online trade exhibitions planned by the company this year, according to an Alibaba statement.
“The exhibition not only replicates all the scenarios of an offline exhibition but also provides a comprehensive digital upgrade,” said Zhang Kuo, the general manager of Alibaba.com.
Zhang said the online exhibition will offer participants short videos for product promotions as well as more than 1,000 B2B live streaming sessions.
As the pandemic shuts down large parts of the world’s economy, global trade is expected to fall by up to 32 per cent this year, the World Trade Organisation said last month. China’s total foreign trade in the first quarter of the year fell 6.4 per cent year on year amid weak global demand due to antivirus measures adopted in the US and Europe, according to official figures from Beijing.
Alibaba.com said its April sales soared 86.3 per cent year on year as foreign merchants relied more on the internet to conduct transactions given the travel and quarantine restrictions associated with the pandemic.
The company said it has used big data to achieve “perfect matching” between sellers and buyers, which not only increased efficiency but also protected intellectual property rights.
“To solve the problems faced by foreign trade [enterprises], we should not only hold exhibitions but also help them complete the digital reconstruction,” said Zhang. “No matter whether there is an epidemic and whether the epidemic will pass or not, cross-border trade will definitely develop in the direction of further digitisation.”
Last month, China’s state cabinet rolled out a series of policies to support foreign trade, including setting up 46 new integrated pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce as well as announcing an online version of the Canton Fair, the country’s oldest and largest export trade fair, to take place in June.
Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.