Continuing its aggressive expansionist drive in the western part of the world, Alibaba has today announced opening up of a new trade hub in Belgium. The Chinese e-commerce giant has signed an agreement with the Belgian Government for the same, reports Reuters. Belgium has also become the first European country to sign on the agreement.

This project is part of Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) and the company has made similar agreements in Southeast Asia and Africa.

The agreement was signed in the presence of Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters as well as Alibaba Group Senior Director James Song and President of Global Business Angel Zhao in attendance.

Commenting on the importance of this development for Belgium, PM Michel said,

This will be a huge opportunity to boost exports and bring wide reaching economic benefits to society, including employment opportunities to Liege. Participation in eWTP underlines our country’s vision to help local small and medium-sized companies to be more competitive in the global marketplace in the digital age.

First conceptualised by Jack Ma in 2016, the eWTP has been recognized by the G20, as well as adopted by China, Malaysia and Rwanda. eWTP’s primary aim is to launch a series of similar trade hubs across the globe. This, while helps SMEs in participating in cross-border commerce, helps Alibaba maintain dominance over the SME segment.

That mission could have a significant impact in Europe, said Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang, where 98% of companies are small businesses.

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