Pilot zone for Silk Road e-commerce aims to foster innovation among BRI nations

Cai Wenjun
Shanghai is the Silk Road e-commerce pilot zone for BRI nations, with the goal of expanding mechanisms of innovation and strengthening international cooperation.
Cai Wenjun

The State Council has designated Shanghai as the pilot zone for Silk Road e-commerce cooperation, an initiative aimed at improving digital economic cooperation among Belt and Road Initiative participating nations, deepening mechanism innovation, and strengthening international cooperation.

According to the government, efforts will be made to advance high-standard opening up in cross-border service trade and investment, expand market access for digital and other products, and deepen reform in sectors such as state-owned enterprises and the digital economy.

The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and Hongqiao Business Zone will be critical to the Silk Road e-commerce cooperation pilot zone. They will assist by constructing distribution facilities, expanding professional service access, and perfecting supply chain service.

A Silk Road e-commerce pavilion will be built to attract foreign e-commerce enterprises. This will result in the establishment of several regional platforms as well as a new engine for deep trade.

Local e-commerce platforms and enterprises from both home and abroad have praised the new law, arguing that establishing a pilot zone for Silk Road e-commerce will improve high-quality collaboration under the Belt and Road Initiative and speed up international e-commerce cooperation.

Hongqiao Pinhui

The Hongqiao Import Commodity Exhibition and Trade Center's "6+365 Days" green channel, also known as Hongqiao Pinhui, is the Shanghai government's annual trade platform for the spillover effects of the China International Import Expo.

After five years of operation, Hongqiao Pinhui has served over 500 exhibitors from 90 countries and regions with over 6,000 brands and 80,000 items.

In the first half of this year, it introduced 42 Belt and Road Initiative suppliers to China. Russian liquors, South Korean body and hair care products, Serbian fruit juice, and Indonesian bird's nests are among the products.

"Coffee is one of the greatest highlights of Hongqiao Pinhui, which established a Hongqiao International Coffee Port to leverage the spillover effects of CIIE and realized comprehensive coffee industry development through a complete chain of supply and consumption," said Freesia Zhu, deputy general manager of Hongqiao Pinhui.

"Our coffee port has received coffee from 58 countries, including 24 from the Belt and Road Initiative. A total of 28 countries have permanent exhibitions here, while 50 coffee firms have conducted sales and marketing activities, totaling 3 billion yuan (US$411 million) in revenues."

She said that Hongqiao Pinhui would help with the pilot zone task by offering online service for international coffee traders in the Belt and Road Initiative as well as domestic buyers. They would also increase the number of Silk Road countries that participate in the trial of the Silk Road e-commerce white-list mechanism and cross-border yuan trade settlement, bring more Silk Road countries' exhibitors to Hongqiao Pinhui's exhibition halls, and strengthen their ties with bonded areas in the Yangtze River Delta region.

Pilot zone for Silk Road e-commerce aims to foster innovation among BRI nations

Hongqiao International Coffee Port, a highlight of Hongqiao Pinhui, has received coffee from 58 countries, including 24 nations from the Belt and Road Initiative.

Newegg Commerce

The US-based Newegg Commerce Inc is a leading e-commerce company with its Chinese headquarters in Shanghai. It was among the first to engage in cross-border e-commerce as a leading technological product e-commerce platform. After 22 years, it has evolved into a comprehensive e-commerce service platform providing sales, supply chain, and technical solutions to 47 million high-end consumers in North America, selling China-made electronic appliances, smart home gadgets, computer game peripheral equipment, and services.

Aside from Shanghai, Newegg has branches in Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, and Shenzhen, with a 700-person staff specializing in cross-border e-commerce.

According to James Chen, vice president of Newegg Commerce China, cross-border e-commerce is a major change and has significant potential for international trade, and Shanghai is taking the lead in implementing new rules and initiatives to accelerate progress.

"Our company began focusing on cross-border e-commerce in 2019 and has seen consistent growth each year. We are committed to providing Chinese sellers with multiple cross-border services through a single point of contact to support their digital transformation and overseas business," he said. "Newegg Commerce is honored by the Shanghai Cross-Border E-Commerce Association as an e-commerce pioneer."

"We also teamed up with multiple universities in China to offer courses and talent training to help cultivate more professionals in e-commerce for the industry's future development," he said.

Pilot zone for Silk Road e-commerce aims to foster innovation among BRI nations

Newegg’s US warehouse

E-Land Group

Entering China in the 1990s, South Korea's E-Land Group has become one of the most prominent firms in Shanghai's Minhang District. Starting from shipping China-made goods to South Korea, the company has grown into a behemoth with 29 apparel labels, four stores, and one hotel. It is constructing a Sino-South Korean industrial zone in Wujing, Minhang, to strengthen bilateral collaboration between the two nations' businesses.

E-Land Group stated that it began its company transformation to e-commerce many years ago and launched its store on WeChat Mall in 2019. Its online platform currently includes not just the company's own brands but also other South Korean brands.

Kim Nam Kook, general manager of E-Land China Investment and Operation Company, said that the company will perfect its platform service and mechanism in order to introduce more South Korean brands to China, as well as collaborate with industry service providers to provide full-chain services such as IT, logistics, and storage in order to create a perfect cross-border e-commerce ecosystem for countries in the Road and Belt Initiative.

Seong Nak Won, general manager of E-Land Group (Korea & China) e-commerce, said the company is highly excited about China's rapidly developing cross-border trade and has begun preparations accordingly.

"We launched the kidikidi e-commerce platform, which covers all aspects of baby and infant products and services. South Korean brands on kidikidi are eager to expand into the Chinese market through the platform. We are seeing a rapid increase in cross-border business as a result of our collaboration with Tmall Global, and we will continue to assist these brands in expanding their businesses overseas through e-commerce," he said.

E-Land Group aspires to introduce more South Korean firms overseas and present their brands to European and Asian markets through the Silk Road e-commerce initiative, he said.

Pilot zone for Silk Road e-commerce aims to foster innovation among BRI nations

E-Land Group's Sino-South Korean industrial zone in Wujing, Minhang.

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