Covid-19 speeds up digital transition of global trade


5th July, 2020 09:44:33 printer

Covid-19 speeds up digital transition of global trade


Despite bringing some challenges, the Covid-19 pandemic has created several opportunities for foreign trade companies to go digital.

Diane Wang, CEO of, a cross-border e-commerce site, made this remarks in an interview.

Besides the severe adverse impacts on international logistics and liquidity pressure to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the pandemic accelerated the pace at which firms are becoming more digital-savvy, Wang added.

"The digital divide has become more pronounced and wider than ever amid the crisis," said Wang adding that those are more prepared in terms of digitalization have shown more flexibility and resilience.

The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a huge blow to global trade.

According to Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the country’s exports dropped 11.4 percent year on year in Yuan terms in the first quarter, as weak domestic production and sluggish external demand dampened activities.

Cross-border e-commerce, as a new business form, has seen rapid growth in recent years, with total retail exports via the channel jumping 60 percent year on year in 2019, data showed from the Ministry.

The country has rolled out a series of measures to encourage innovation in foreign trade to keep it stable.

In the first five months, the total value of retail exports via cross-border e-commerce increased by 12 percent, bucking the broader trade downturn.

As a B2B cross-border site, was also hit by the pandemic in Q1 before recovering in April and May, when the gross merchandise value increased by 30 to 40 percent year on year, according to the company.

The rebound was partly due to the company's efforts to help merchants bring their offline businesses online, Wang said.

During the virtual Canton Fair in June, the company assisted exporters in leveraging live streaming to market their products to global buyers, increasing their digital exposure.

However going online has become a new trend that all companies in the industry must embrace to survive, she said.

As the country rolls out more supportive policies such as more streamlined customs clearance for B2B e-commerce, the company is expected to receive a boost, Wang said.