BUSINESS

Alibaba and Cosco to open direct route for Greek exports to China

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Economy, Business

Alibaba, the global leader in online sales, is launching an integrated plan to develop electronic trade between Greece and China. The company intends to offer its users in China and around the world the ability to buy Greek products and services through its platform, an official of the Chinese firm explained at an Athens event last week.

The shipment of Greek goods to Asia will be conducted via Piraeus and scheduled container shipment routes to China. Cosco is interested in this service, which may concern anything from single items to significant cargoes such as wine or olive oil, as the Hong Kong-listed company is developing distribution centers based in Piraeus.

The implementation of such a plan would be far more important than it appears at first sight, sources familiar with the Chinese scheme tell Kathimerini. They add that on a practical level, it would make a portion of international trade much easier and automatic.

Although sales of Greek products in China have been attributed to the successful implementation of marketing strategies, other services, such as tourism, have already achieved recognition among the growing Chinese middle class. Crete and Santorini are already top destinations for Chinese tourists and the completion of the acquisition of Piraeus port management by Cosco would further strengthen Greece’s image in China. If the supply chain is also secured through the port of Piraeus, numerous Greek merchants and entrepreneurs will have access to the Chinese market without having to be physically present there.

Alibaba country manager for Italy, Spain and Greece Rodrigo Cipriani presented last Wednesday a first draft of the company’s plans during a video conference in the Athens Chamber of Tradesmen. Senior Alibaba officials are expected in Athens in September to hold meetings with government officials and business representatives.

What Alibaba is offering is technological infrastructure and marketing to tradesmen and other enterprises selling products, services and digital content so that they may strengthen their online presence and sales, and expand their relationship with users-consumers.

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