New e-commerce platform in pipeline will facilitate Pak-China trade, China Economic Net reported on Wednesday. “At present, we are planning to establish a new e-commerce platform with our Pakistani partners to connect the bilateral businesses and customers. Supporting facilities in terms of payment and logistics are also in the pipeline”, said Muhammad Mustafa, deputy secretary-general of Shenzhen Cross-border E-commerce Association (SZCBEA) in an exclusive interview with China Economic Net (CEN) on the 4th Global Cross-border E-commerce Festival Phase II organized by SZCBEA on Oct29. “This platform will not only link Pakistan and China, but also other countries in the region”, added Muhammad. In the past few years, Pakistan’s e-commerce sector has grown at an astonishing rate. The market almost doubled in fiscal year 2017-18; in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2021, Pakistan’s e-commerce market has grown by 35 percent as revealed by the Ministry of Commerce. In a recent report, global monitoring and data analysis company NielsenIQ shows that commerce traffic in Pakistan increased by more than 230 percent year on year. By estimation, the country’s e-commerce market will reach $1 billion in 2021. Catching this golden opportunity, both sides are making concerted efforts to push forward cooperation in this burgeoning area. “I’m the first Pakistani employee in our association. We used to commit ourselves to the European market, but now, the focus has been shifted to Pakistan”, said Muhammad. “When the pandemic is over, we will visit KPK and Gilgit Baltistan provinces to further extend our business. E-commerce is the future of business”, he maintained. In the last three years, internet users in Pakistan have grown by 68 percent, with more than 65 million People in Pakistan expected to use 3G or 4G networks on their smartphones in 2021, which will bring the number of mobile phone users to more than 163 million, or about 89 percent of the country’s total population. “Pakistan has 70 million middle class, and this large group has a strong demand for improving the quality of life and upgrading consumption. This is often overlooked by Chinese companies already in Pakistan”, suggested Mr Ali, Consul of Pakistani Consulate General in Guangzhou. In addition to platform building, supporting transport system will also be expanded. It is learned that Speedaf Express and SF Express are deploying the logistics network for door-to-door connection between Pakistani and Chinese traders. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the cost of transportation has been soaring. “The freight of marine shipment from China to Pakistan went up by about 300pc”, said a manager from Fujian Xianban Food Company, a Chinese enterprise exporting abalone to Pakistan. With more lines to be opened and more warehouses to be set up, more cost-effective and highly efficient transportation services are within expectation.