eWTP Global Innovation Center Opens in Yiwu
On the afternoon of June 19, Yiwu Municipal People'Government and Alibaba Group signed an eWTP strategic cooperation agreement.
At the Boao Forum 2016, Jack Ma first proposed the idea of eWTP. The idea is to promote the construction of commercial and digital infrastructure in the “4T” sector: trade, technology, tourism and training, to develop a comprehensive system of “buy globally, sell globally, pay globally, transport globally, and travel globally”, and to assist the small- and medium-sized enterprises, young people and other groups to innovate and run their businesses.
In the three years following the proposition of the idea, physical locations of the eWTP were considered all around the world. According to reports, some eWTP overseas testing areas were established in Malaysia, Rwanda and Belgium. In the domestic market of China, a cross-border e-commerce comprehensive test area was successfully established in Hangzhou in 2017. This time, an eWTP test area opened in Yiwu and was named “eWTP Global Innovation Center”.
For both parties, the government and Alibaba Group, this marked a cooperation of the largest markets online and offline. According to the agreement, Alibaba and Yiwu would jointly establish the eWTP Global Innovation Center in Yiwu, implement the eWTP commercialization project, develop the eWTP service network, promote the innovational model of trade of Yiwu, and develop a set of eWTP standardization rules that would be globally applicable.
Yiwu has become a very distinctive business model for China's international trade. From Jack Ma's view, the strong domestic demand in the small- and medium-sized cities, the construction of the “B&R” Initiative and the goal of comprehensive digitalization are among the most important opportunities for China's future development. Yiwu boasts great advantages in these aspects and is expected to become an important region for the future economic boom.
Each year, more than 500,000 international merchants are trading in Yiwu, and more than 15,000 international merchants from more than 100 countries and regions are staying in Yiwu for most of the year. The products from Yiwu are exported to more than 210 countries and regions in the world. Yiwu is also equipped with infrastructures like aviation, railway, seaport and postal services.
According to Yiwu Customs, in the first quarter of 2019, the China Railway Express developed quickly. At the same time, in the first five months of 2019, Yiwu's postal and delivery business exceeded 1.5 billion pieces of mail, ranking third in the whole country, only after Guangzhou (2.38 billion) and Shenzhen (1.52 bn).
In the eyes of people who experienced the early development of the blooming market in Yiwu in 1979, international trade is not the same as it used to be and innovation ideas have being redefined. Yiwu, actively improving itself as an important city along the B&R Initiative, has once again exerted its strength in the era of digital economy.
While Yiwu is further moving towards the “small- and medium-sized micro-enterprise trade paradise,” it also faces great challenges.
An article from Xinhua News Agency in 2016 warned: It is not difficult to see that Jack Ma's proposal is attractive for international products entering the market in China via e-commerce platform. On the other hand, however, the platform is mainly functioning in the domestic market, whereas there are also problems such as poor product quality that needs to be resolved. (By Tong Xin – China Business News Daily, translated by Lin Yuqin, edited by Mariam Ayad)