The growth of the European economy outpaced expectations last year with a 2.7% increase in GDP, in large part attributable to an increase in consumer spending. As the Euro and consumer confidence continue to grow, companies are seeking distribution centers to give them an edge in the market through accessibility and increased speed.
The Walloon regional government in Belgium has responded in kind. The Wallonia Export & Foreign Investment Agency, the Liege Airport, and Logistics in Wallonia have partnered to create the EU-China Logistics incubator using the Liege Airport in Belgium as a base. The incubator is the first of its kind in Europe and will support Chinese companies that wish to do business in Europe by providing services required by cross-border e-commerce such as access to logistics and transportation companies.
ECL support for Chinese cross-border e-commerce doesn’t stop there. The base will also provide services including free office space, mailboxes, training to help companies incentivize their activities, access to the appropriate governmental departments, and local partners.
The Liege Airport and greater Wallonia region hold a strategic position on the European Continent, located in the center of a triangle formed by Amsterdam (250km North), Frankfurt (300km East), and Paris (300km Southwest). While shipping via sea is still the cheapest but slowest option for Chinese companies, traffic congestion around Europe’s main seaports is making it less attractive. Wallonia has inland accessibility to air cargo and seaports like Liège, Brussels, and Antwerp, allowing companies to bypass delays.
Speaking at a promotional meeting for the hub last October, Franck Toussaint, logistics and supply chain expert at AWEX said, “The region also boasts top transport infrastructure, low costs for land, warehouses and labor. Its Liege Airport, Belgium’s largest air freight hub and Europe’s 8th-largest cargo airport, has daily air cargo flights leaving for China and the rest of Europe.”
The partners signed a MoU last October, with Belgium specifically pitching the Guangdong region for financial backing. Guangzhou has been a hub of Chinese exports for hundreds of years, and today is the heart of manufacturing for many Chinese companies located in the Pearl River Delta. The agreement will allow companies from the Guangdong region to grow in Europe the Belgium Consulate of Guangzhou agreed to a program to offer Guangdong and Chinese investors long-term multiple-entry visas.
Recently Ken Zhao, Cifnews 雨果 网 VP, was invited by the local government to inspect the new project. The meeting with ECL representatives was also an opportunity to talk about collaboration in cross-border e-commerce sector. Liège will be an important strategic gateway for those companies operating in the online cross-border trade sector.
The mission of Cifnews 雨果 网 has always been to create a bridge between Chinese and European e-commerce world. The EU-China Logistics Incubator project certainly goes in this direction. Thanks to our network of contacts and strategic partners in China, Cifnews 雨果 网 will be able to lay the foundations of a real partnership with the commercial world located in the heart of Europe.