Pakistan-China E-Commerce Cooperation

By Muhammad Asif Noor | Gwadar Pro Aug 8, 2023

Editor's Note: The writer is the Founder of Friends of BRI Forum and Advisor to Pakistan Research Center, Hebei Normal University, China. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of Gwadar Pro.

The strategic alignment between Pakistan and China in the e-commerce domain becomes increasingly significant.

By capitalizing on the opportunities arising from this burgeoning sector, both nations are building on to unlock new avenues for economic cooperation, digital innovation, and social development. The e-commerce market in Pakistan is flourishing, with revenues expected to reach USD 10,230 million by 2027, driven by an annual growth rate of 8.49%. In this backdrop, the transformative power of Pakistan-China e-commerce cooperation holds immense potential for the future of both countries.

The Pakistani e-commerce market is thriving and likely to receive a much-needed boost after linking with the Chinese marketplace. Pakistan has generated revenue worth $6,807 million from the e-commerce market alone in the financial year 2022 and is projected to grow at 8% on average for the next five years. Pakistan ranked the 39th in major e-commerce marketplaces worldwide. On the other hand, China enjoys e-commerce trade agreements with 26 other countries, and Pakistan is likely to get more benefits due to its geographical proximity to China. 

With the development of the second phase of CPEC, industrialization and manufacturing will undoubtedly accelerate the e-commerce trade between China and Pakistan. The existing Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement is also facilitating cross-border e-commerce trade by adding no extra tariffs and import duties, providing maximum benefits to the consumer on either side of the border. Recognizing this potential, both governments have taken significant strides in establishing platforms to facilitate cross-border trade.

One example of the presence of Pakistan at China’s leading e-commerce sector is through the platform called JD.com where a Pakistani pavilion helps products and services from the country reach millions of  active users. The trend of buying online Pakistani products among the Chinese population has been on the rise, indicating a growing interest in Pakistani goods.

On the domestic front, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has also made substantial investments in Pakistan's e-commerce sector to harness its untapped potential. With Pakistan's large population, approximately 64% of which is composed of youth, the country presents a fertile ground for e-commerce entrepreneurs.

Also, against this backdrop, the signing of agreements on E-commerce Cooperation between China and Pakistan in November 2022 has solidified their commitment to fostering cross-border e-commerce partnerships.

As Pakistan and China are celebrating the tenth anniversary of BRI and CPEC capitalizing on the opportunities presented by e-commerce may help share the benefits beyond just economic growth.

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