China's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is strengthening its position along the Silk Road Economic Belt. It has signed agreements with Gansu province, Ningxia Hui autonomous region and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to develop e-commerce, cloud computing and big data in China's western region.
"From here, we see an opportunity, an opportunity to sell produce from Xinjiang to the entire country and the world," said Jack Ma, Chairman of Alibaba Group, at Xinjiang E-commerce Forum. "Cross-border trade will be our next priority."
China's Silk Road Economic Belt strategy, proposed by President Xi Jinping, is designed to strengthen the infrastructure along the region. The "belt" on land aims to promote greater connectivity between China and the central and western parts of Eurasia.
Seeking business opportunity from the government's initiative, Alibaba has formulated its own long-term strategy of expending to western region. It's in negotiations with several provinces along the belt.
Local governments are enthusiastic about the tech giant's effort to expand its presence in the western region. With help from Alibaba, Gansu aims to become the data hub for the belt and farm produce from Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region can reach global customers.
The strategy has taken into account the development of the Silk Road Economic Belt, said Gu Jianbing, public relations director of Alibaba Group, to chinadaily.com.cn.
"But our main goal is to help the areas with e-commerce," he said. Gansu province, Ningxia Hui autonomous region and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region are rich in farm and pasture products, while market capacity there is limited, Gu added.
He said that Alibaba is dispatching a team to help connect local businesses to online platform.
"Alibaba is also discussing with authorities in Shaanxi province, and hopes to reach an agreement soon," added Gu.