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KARACHI: E-commerce platforms have created opportunities for Pakistan SMEs sector to enhance their exports and earn precious foreign exchange reserves for the country.

Currently, the majority of sellers in the SMEs sector are doing business in the domestic market; however, the leading e-commerce platform, Alibaba.com, is encouraging these entrepreneurs to start their exports across the world through this platform.

“We have organized various sessions for brand awareness at different chambers of commerce recently to attract sellers to enhance exports globally through our platform and the response from these potential sellers was overwhelming,” informed Song Son,g country head Pakistan Alibaba.com.

He said that there are various cities in Pakistan including Sialkot, Faisalabad, Lahore, Karachi, Multan and Gujranwala, which are hubs of SMEs and manufacturing of various goods. Majority of sellers in the SMEs sector are doing business in the domestic market but we are encouraging them to start their exports across the world through Alibaba.com, he added.

“We are assisting SMEs to build the market with unlimited opportunities providing training to them through our partners, channels. Buyers across the world will be attracted with various categories of goods and products from Pakistan including apparel, home textile, surgical goods, sports items and various machines,” he said.

Song Song said that Alibaba.com is providing information to the sellers in the first step and in the next step, the buyers and sellers meet and they can trade through one-stop service. “Our company is looking to establish its network in Pakistan through registering a local company, opening up bank accounts, recruitments of local staff and development of channels and services partners bases to help SMEs to enhance their exports to global companies”, he added.

Highlighting about Pakistan’s increasing participation on Alibaba.com, he said more than 3,000 sellers from Pakistan are active on Alibaba.com. Among them 30 percent sellers or exporters hail from Sialkot. A very limited number of sellers belong to Faisalabad. Lahore and Karachi because of the unawareness about the platform of Alibaba and the way of doing business through it and the expected revenues and benefits, he added.

He said that Alibaba.com aims to achieve 30 million online buyers on the platform and support more than 220,000 sellers online across the world as per its global outreach program.

Recently, the e-commerce platform released a cross-border trading white paper called Pakistan digital B2B outlook 2022 that mentions several industries that witnessed significant growth during the pandemic, such as the pharmaceutical and medical industry, the apparel and clothing industry with estimated worth over $400 billion.

He said that Alibaba.com’s plans for Pakistan include extending support to local small and medium-sized businesses, expanding its operation to new cities including Sialkot, Faisalabad, Lahore, Karachi, etc., making Pakistan a hub for digital trade.

Pakistan is one of the leading countries on the prominent e-commerce platform Alibaba.com in terms of active sellers and exporters. Briefing the trends of business from Pakistan, country head Alibaba.com said the Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) volume was very impressive and fast which brought Pakistan in the limelight on the e-commerce platform merely in a short period of two years.

Pakistan is a number 1 country in terms of sellers and Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) on Alibaba.com besides China, he said. The number of sellers of Pakistan newbies visiting Alibaba for products and services are increasing at a good pace as the compound average of visiting rate stands at 30 percent on a yearly basis from Pakistan.

Presently, a majority of traders are doing trade offline in Pakistan compared to different countries as they don’t do transactions directly on the platform of Alibaba against their purchases and sales but they have to deal in a traditional way through commercial banks by way of Letter of Credit (LC) and Telegraphic Transfer (TT), he mentioned.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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