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

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY ILIAS BELLOS

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.

If the sup­ply chain is se­cured through the port of Pi­raeus, nu­mer­ous Greek en­trepreneurs may have ac­cess to China with­out be­ing there.

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