Helping on Belt and Road

Hongtong leather factory in east China’s Anhui Province and Indonesian company PT, though oceans and cultures apart, are now close partners.

Just a year ago, the Chinese company’s sales volume was less than one-seventh of its current volume, with no more than 20 employees. Sporadic orders had put the company on the brink of collapse.

PT was also having a hard time, as its old-fashioned offline distribution model was challenged by a limited supply of goods, a rising cost of sales, and greedy middlemen.

“With the help of Osell, the two companies joined hands and made each other’s business much easier,” said Wang Chunbao, a manager at Hongtong, adding that 40 workers in a plant in Hongtong were busy finalizing an order for PT.

Osell is a cross-border commerce platform based in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality. As more and more companies in China and Belt and Road countries seek better partners and turn to the Internet for new retailing, “matchmakers” like Osell are mushrooming to meet their needs.

“We aim to promote the successful e-commerce experience of Chinese companies to countries along the Belt and Road, help companies look for opportunities and realize cooperation,” said Zhu Fuxing, vice president of Osell Group.

In addition to securing a stable supplier for PT, Osell has helped PT transform its original three-layer distribution system into one layer with the assistance of social e-commerce, successfully reducing its prices at the terminal market from 30 percent higher than its competitors to 20 percent lower than market prices.

PT’s sales increased by several million U.S. dollars, and Hongtong’s monthly sales volume was eight times larger than before.

The transaction size of Chinese cross-border e-commerce topped 9.1 trillion yuan (1.4 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2018, with a compound growth rate of up to 26 percent from 2013 to 2017, said a report by KPMG, an auditing and consultancy firm.

A manager from PT told Xinhua that many Indonesian companies hope to restructure like their Chinese counterparts, but find it difficult to realize due to technical and supply chain issues. However, the emergence of Chinese “matchmakers” can offer them established platforms, solving problems of supply, distribution and network in one go.

In addition to Osell, Internet companies such as DHGate and Alibaba have turned their eyes to medium and small companies in Belt and Road countries, providing them with an adequate supply of goods as well as rich online experience.

China’s BRI from Hongtong said the leather company has made plans to expand production this year and build overseas inventory to avoid supply shortage in the Indonesian market, which is “of mutual benefit to both sides.”

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