Summary of AliExpress: The Online Silk Road

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China’s state-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) set out to extend the nation’s global influence by building more overseas business ties and cultivating political links. This state policy has a particular symbiosis with one particular Chinese e-commerce platform, AliExpress. This brief but thought-provoking article by Wang Yuanyuan in Oriental Outlook Weekly may be a bit promotional about AliExpress, but it capably explains how the platform is both a key pillar within the initiative’s structure – and its direct beneficiary. With BRI, AliExpress can act as a market disruptor, growing significantly while knowingly and intelligently enabling small and midsized enterprises (SMEs) to develop beyond China’s borders. getAbstract recommends this perceptive look at the symbiotic relationship between the company and China’s Belt and Road policy. 

About the Author

Wang Yuanyuan, a business journalist, has been writing for the Highlights, City View, News and Oriental Word of Mouth sections of Oriental Outlook Weekly since 2014. 



China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) stimulates the demand for Chinese products in the countries along its corridor. Now overseas consumers can fulfill that desire for Chinese goods by shopping online. AliExpress, once the Alibaba Group’s wholesale B2B e-commerce platform, is now a B2C marketplace for overseas buyers and sellers. Called the “Online Silk Road,” it’s an integral, indispensable part of BRI and a huge beneficiary of it.  

By providing a flow of funds and information, e-commerce platforms such as AliExpress offer both Chinese and overseas small and midsized enterprises (SMEs) previously undreamed of access to new markets along the BRI corridor. Chinese companies now have an easy way to export. Gone are many of the complications and risks of international trade: the huge financial investment, the need to open physical stores in destination countries and the demands of conducting promotional activities to expand into traditional offline overseas markets.

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