Improving Qatari business transactions

26 February 2021
ITC News

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the push towards a digital world, changing forever the way we trade. E-commerce has become the story’s protagonist, and digitalizing businesses is no longer just an option, be it for business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions.

B2B e-commerce is estimated ten times the value of B2C: in 2018, B2B e-commerce was worth $21 trillion, 83% of global e-commerce, according to the UN Conference for Trade and Development.

Dedicated B2B online marketplaces are rapidly increasing, yet Alibaba remains the biggest with a net income of $19.6 billion in 2020 (Statista).

In 2018, the International Trade Centre (ITC) in partnership with Qatar Development Bank (QDB) launched a two-year project that supported Qatari businesses in accessing international B2B e-commerce markets.

As part of this project, ITC supported in total 16 companies in listing on Alibaba. They benefited from a free Gold Supplier membership and help in establishing and managing an Alibaba account for product posting and setting up basic keywords. Through the platform, the Qatari businesses gained visibility and new customers. One of the companies renewed its membership for an additional two years with 10 inquires per month on average. A second one counted 23 inquiries in the first month after its activation.

The project was part of a broader project aiming to support 25 Qatari firms. ITC trained the businesses on B2B e-commerce and supported them in online inventories of goods, developing productive online store experiences, enhancing digital product displays and building user-friendly websites.

Other topics included logistics, product inventory and strategy, market research and opportunities, as well as exports and strategies at the product level.
From analysing local capabilities and identifying needs through digital audits, ITC offered the small businesses useful information about their online presence.