HANGZHOU, April 7 (Xinhua) -- East China's Zhejiang Province and the country's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group jointly launched an initiative Tuesday to boost the digital development of small and medium-sized enterprises.
According to the initiative, the two sides will tap the digital potential of Zhejiang's manufacturing industries, help SMEs to build digital production and marketing systems, and expand digital international marketing channels of "Made in Zhejiang" products.
As for export-focused SMEs, Alibaba will help them to expand into new markets through platforms such as AliExpress, Lazada and Tmall World and help a subset of these SMEs transform and develop their business through measures such as resource support, fee reductions and fast-track processing.
As for the manufacturing sector, it aims at activating manufacturing belts, incubating a group of "Super Producer IP" designations, and fostering 10 digitized manufacturing clusters with production output valued at tens of billions yuan. Also, it will help 1,000 factories realize direct-to-consumer sales of over 100 million yuan (about 14.2 million U.S. dollars) within three years.
Alibaba will also establish 1,000 digitized agricultural centers across China, according to the initiative.
In addition, the e-commerce giant will help alleviate financing challenges for more SMEs by extending "immediate settlement" services until June 30. The online merchant bank of Ant Financial, Alibaba's financial affiliate, will work with hundreds of traditional banks to provide zero-contact loans to tens of millions of SMEs.
"SMEs are the lifeblood of an economy," said Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang in a staff memo. "If SMEs are alive, then the economy will remain alive."
"We must turn the 'danger' brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic into 'opportunity' for SMEs to prepare for the future through digital transformation," said Zhang.