What happened: Alibaba Group has entered into a strategic collaboration with the municipal government of Yiwu to launch an Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) hub in the city, which is hailed as China’s small commodities capital. Located in the eastern province of Zhejiang, Yiwu exports goods to more than 200 countries and regions. Yiwu’s small sellers will gain access to overseas buyers and digital services and infrastructure.
Why it’s important: The eWTP concept was first proposed by Alibaba founder Jack Ma as an initiative to offer small- and medium-sized enterprises easier access to new markets via simple regulations, logistics, financing, and cloud computing and payment services. In the new Yiwu eWTP Pilot Area, the company will help to promote innovation in trade finance, establish a smart logistics hub, as well as other infrastructure services. A majority of the 450,000 merchants in Yiwu are micro-, small- or medium-sized enterprises. Alibaba has established five eWTP hubs around the world in Malaysia, the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Rwanda, Belgium, and now Yiwu.