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By Shumaila Andleeb

HANGZHOU, May 16 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said he was the firm believer of political empowerment of people through economic development and would encourage e-commerce in the country as a tool to help small businesses go global.
Addressing here at the signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding setting up an e-platform in Pakistan by China’s biggest e-commerce portal Alibaba, the Prime Minister said the initiative would help create jobs and generate livelihood in the country.
The Prime Minister termed e-commerce a catalyst for bringing improvement in Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector, which he said could help promote the disadvantaged segments of the society.
He said digital transactions were a solution for small entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and reach global markets.
He expressed pleasure on meeting the founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Jack Ma following their last meeting at Davos this January and said he was impressed by the contribution of the e-commerce giant for the economic uplift of Chinese people.
The Prime Minister said Alibaba Group’s approach of helping out small
business enterprisers had a humanistic dimension which was also the pivot of Pakistan government’s policies since 2013.
Nawaz Sharif appreciated Jack Ma for his intention to open an e-platform of Alibaba in Paksitan and said he had earlier directed his office to work out the formalities that resulted in signing of MoU within four months.
He expressed hope that Alibaba Group would launch the project in Pakistan at the earliest.
Jack Ma, well-known for his successes in online trade and mobile payments said e-commerce had enormous potential to unlock growth in emerging markets.
He said the future of e-commerce looked promising for small businesses and mentioned that nowadays, more and more such entities were incorporating e-commerce platforms as part of their business systems.
He said his company was closely monitoring the progress of Pakistan’s e-commerce sector and wanted to support small scale industries.
He apprised the Prime Minister that Alibaba Group was facilitating 60
million companies across the globe and said that around 300,000 consumers from Pakistan had signed with Alibaba for transactions and company’s services.
Jack Ma lauded that small craft factories flourishing in Pakistan and mentioned the country’s world famous products particularly footballs and Himalayan pink salt.
He emphasized that paying special attention to the youth in Pakistan, being two-third of country’s population, could make them more productive for national economy.
The Alibaba founder said close collaboration between Pakistan and China in commerce could turn the “irons brothers into golden brothers”.
Minister for Commece Khurram Dastagir, Pakistan’s ambassador to China Masood Khalid and China’s ambassador Sun Weidong were present.