Hangzhou, the site of this year’s G20 Summit, is famed for its lakes and historic buildings, but more recently it’s known as the hometown of Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba.
The internet giant took advantage of the summit’s location to hold a series of high-level meetings, inking both deals and friendships in the process. Here’s some of the items that were on Alibaba’s schedule during the G20 summit:
1. Alibaba Partners With The UN Targeting Green Finance
Alibaba and Jack Ma have linked themselves to a handful of progressive causes over the past year as a part of the company’s drive to increase brand reputation as precursor to their global expansion. Causes championed by Ma and Alibaba include environment, education, anti-counterfeit measures and now green finance.
Yesterday, Alibaba’s finance affiliate, Ant Financial Services Group, sealed an MOU with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to promote green finance and environmental protection initiatives. It’s part of a wider initiative by the UNEP to leverage partnerships with fintech companies to promote better environmental practices.
2. Alibaba Signs Cooperation Agreement With Canadian Government
Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, took a trip to the Alibaba headquarters during his time in Hangzhou, where he met with Jack Ma to discuss how to use e-commerce to stimulate trade between China and Canada.
The occasion also marked the official launch of the ‘Canada Pavilion’ on Tmall, Alibaba’s China-focussed international shopping portal. Canada joins a myriad of other countries who have already opened pavilions on the site, that allow shoppers to buy from foreign brands directly, instead of through grey market resales on Taobao.
Mr. Ma and Prime Minister Trudeau also agreed to work closely on initiatives to bring more Chinese tourists to Canada, including facilitating the use of Alipay and AliTrip in Canada.
“Today, I am pleased we are formalizing our efforts to have Alibaba serve as the gateway to China for Canadian businesses of all sizes,” said Mr. Ma in reaction to the agreement.
3. Australia Signs Agreement With Alibaba To Boost Trade
Canada wasn’t the only commonwealth country with a Jack Ma visit on the schedule. Australia Prime Minister Malcom Turnball visited the tech titan on his final stop before leaving China.
Australia’s Trade and Investment Commission, Austrade, signed an agreement with Alibaba to strengthen their trade relationship and to promote Australian products in China, a large part of Prime Minister Turnball’s focus during the G20 summit.
In a speech during the event, he said that Alibaba “enables the smallest businesses, the mom-and-dad businesses, in the regional part of Australia to have access to the biggest part of the world.”
An ‘Australian Pavilion’ was opened on Alibaba’s Tmall platform last year, encouraging China’s appetite for Australian wine, beef and dairy among other products.
4. WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo Visits Alibaba To Promote Digital Trade
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has been running a heavy campaign in Silicon Valley, urging tech stalwarts such as Facebook, eBay, Google and Paypal to plump up international digital trade.
WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo took the opportunity to do the same with China’s biggest e-commerce company when he visited Hangzhou this week for the G20 summit, meeting with Jack Ma.
5. Italian PM Swills Wine With Jack Ma In Hopes Of Boosting Sales In China
China’s appetite for wine poses a huge opportunity for Italy, the home of some of the world’s best-known wines. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi joined Jack Ma on stage at Alibaba headquarters to share an Italian wine.
Currently Italian wine accounts for six percent of all wine on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms, according to the company, though they are hoping to improve cooperation and bring that number up to an ambitious fifty percent.
The meeting reaffirmed an earlier commitment made by Mr. Ma in April, when he joined Prime Minister Renzi in a panel in Verona to discuss Italy’s wine trade.
6. Indonesia Asks Jack Ma To Become An Economic Advisor
While Canada, Australia and Italy had their agendas firmly pegged to trade during their respective Alibaba visits, Indonesia had other ideas in mind, namely a job offer for Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma.
Indonesia’s Minister Rudiantara, who was traveling as part of President Joko Widodo’s delegation, invited Mr. Ma to join a ‘steering committee’ comprised of ten economic advisors. Minister Rudiantara said the committee is part of a larger push to make “Indonesia’s positioning in the international marketplace more prominent.”
Mr. Ma hasn’t yet accepted or declined the offer.