The Mekong Institute has successfully organized the workshop to introduce the upgraded East-West Economic Corridors (EWEC) Business Database and Business-to-Business E-platform (www.ewecbiz.com), and to promote e-commerce in the two bordering provinces – Quang Tri Province, Vietnam and Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR on February 17, 2017 in Dong Ha city of Vietnam. The workshop is part of the Regional and Local Economic Development – East-West Economic Corridor (RLED-EWEC) being implemented by MI with the support of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Under this project intervention framework, MI aims to promote trade and investment of the provinces along the EWEC through developing business e-platform, as well as promoting e-commerce.
A total of forty-two participants representing the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Business Associations and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in private sector and department of industry and commerce or trade, department of investment and planning etc. governmental trade promotion agencies of the two provinces attended the workshop.
All participants were warmly welcomed by Mr. Nguyen Huu Hung, the Deputy Director of Department of Industry and Trade (DoIT) of Quang Tri province of Vietnam, followed by the project overview given by Mr. Sa-nga Sattanun, Program Manager of the Trade and Investment Facilitation Department of MI. The morning sessions focused on EWEC business database facilitated by TIF staff and RLED-EWEC field office in Vietnam of MI, and the afternoon sessions on introduction to e-commerce and alibaba.com were led by the external e-commerce expert – Dr. Mayuree Srikulwong, a certified trainer of Alibaba.com and lecturer of the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).
Through the morning session of the workshop, participants gained practical understanding of the key features and functions of the EWEC database and B2B e-platform. Group works were conducted to pretest the website registration, and also to discuss the cooperation mechanism between MI, provincial level of trade and promotion organizations (TPOs) to contribute data to the website. In the afternoon sessions, with the guidance of the team and the two questionnaire survey, participants have learned the checklist for establishing an online business by a SME as well as the support needed for promoting e-commerce.
As a follow up action of the workshop, MI will work with the relevant trade and promotion organizations to collect data for the EWEC database website and will also identify outstanding SMEs to start e-commerce. The identified SMEs will be further linked to participate in e-commerce trainings and activities organized by MI and MI’s development partners, such as Alibaba.com and UTCC.
About the Business Database and B2B E-platform (www.ewecbiz.com)
The EWEC website was initially launched in 2012 with support of the Japan ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) in 11 provinces and cities along the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC), namely Mon and Kayin state in Myanmar (2), Tak, Phitsanulok, Khon Kaen, Kalasin, Mukdahan in Thailand (5), Savannakhet in Lao PDR (1), and Quang Tri, Hue of Thua Thien Hue province and Danang in Vietnam (3). The database was developed in cooperation with the national Chambers of Commerce in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar and their provincial counterparts in the corridor, the provincial departments of Ministry of Industry and Commerce and Greater Mekong Sub region Business Forum.
With the support of SDC, MI is upgrading the database to be an interactive business-to-business e-platform with following new information and features:
Re-design the website
Add two additional provinces -Khammouane of Laos and Nakhon Phanom province of Thailand – in the province list of EWEC;
Update the existing provincial and company profiles of all 11 provinces and cities and collect additional company related data;
Provide facility for individual company to showcase their products, interact with buyers via online, post technological requirements, as well as news and events on the web platform.
Create account for Trade and Promotion Organizations (TPOs) to showcase their profile, and build up network among TPOs along EWEC and beyond.
Add statistics report to monitor the utilization of the website by registered users and visitors