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PM favours e-commerce to help small businesses go global

PM favours e-commerce to help small businesses go global

HANGZHOU: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Tuesday that as a firm believer in political empowerment of people through economic development, he would encourage e-commerce in Pakistan as a tool to help small businesses go global.

Addressing the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the setting up of an e-platform in Pakistan by China’s largest e-commerce portal Alibaba, he said the initiative would help create jobs and generate livelihood in the country.

The prime minister said e-commerce acted as a catalyst for bringing improvement in small and medium enterprises sector, which could help support disadvantaged segments of society.

He said digital transactions were a solution for small entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and reach global markets.

He expressed pleasure on meeting again the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba, Jack Ma, after their last meeting in Davos in January, and said he was impressed by the contribution of the e-commerce giant to economic uplift of Chinese people.

The prime minister said the Alibaba Group’s approach of helping out small business enterprisers had a humanistic dimension, which was also the pivot of his government’s policies since 2013.

The prime minister appreciated Mr Ma’s intention to open an e-platform of Alibaba in Pakistan and said he had earlier directed his office to work out the formalities that resulted in the signing of the MoU in four months.

He expressed hope that the Alibaba Group would launch the project in Pakistan at the earliest.

Mr Ma, well-known for his successes in online trade and mobile payments, said e-commerce had enormous potential to unlock growth in emerging markets.

He said the future of e-commerce looked promising for small businesses and added that nowadays more and more such entities were incorporating e-commerce platforms as part of their business systems.

He said his company was closely monitoring the progress of Pakistan’s e-commerce sector and wanted to support small-scale industries.

He told Mr Sharif that the Alibaba Group was facilitating companies across the globe and that around 300,000 consumers from Pakistan had signed with Alibaba for transactions and the company’s services.

Mr Ma acknowledged that small craft factories were flourishing in Pakistan and mentioned the country’s world-famous products, particularly football and Himalayan pink salt.

He emphasised that paying special attention to youth in Pakistan, which comprised two-thirds of the country’s population, could make them more productive for national economy.

The Alibaba founder said close collaboration between Pakistan and China in commerce could turn the “iron brothers into golden brothers”.

Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastagir, Pakistan’s ambassador to China Masood Khalid and Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong also attended the ceremony.

PM arrives in Hong Kong

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sharif arrived in Hong Kong on Tuesday on the second leg of his visit to China.

During his stay in Hong Kong, he will address One Belt, One Road-Pakistan Investment Forum which will be attended by leading business companies of Hong Kong and mainland China.

The forum will highlight business opportunities emerging from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor under the One Belt, One Road initiative.

Chief Executive of Hong Kong C.Y. Leung will also address the forum.

The investment forum is being organised by the consulate general of Pakistan in Hong Kong in collaboration with the government of Hong Kong.

During his visit, the prime minister will meet the chief executive of Hong Kong on Wednesday and they will discuss steps to enhance bilateral ties between Pakistan and Hong Kong, particularly in the Belt and Road projects.

Prime Minister Sharif will also hold meetings with executives of leading business companies of Hong Kong and mainland China and Carrie Lam, chief executive-elect of Hong Kong.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2017

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