AGORA II : “Digital Economy and E-commerce: Challenges and Opportunities in the SCO Region”

Date: 14 December 2019
Time: 4:30 -6:00 PM
Location: Beijing, SCO Secretariat

On 14th December 2019, The Second Youth Conference “AGORA: SCOLAR Vision” was successfully held on the topic “Digital Economy and E-commerce: Challenges and Opportunities in the SCO Region”. Hosted by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Secretariat and co-organized by SCOLAR Network in partnership with Innoway the event brought together officials and business leaders from global and regional e-commerce enterprises such as Alibaba, JD, Tencent, Trade and Economic Multifunctional Platform for SCO Countries (TEMP), Samruk – Kazyna, Alif Capital, etc. The event hosted more than 200 guests, including embassy representatives, journalists, as well as entrepreneurs, students and young professionals keen to learn about e-commerce development within the SCO region.

In the welcoming speech, SCO Secretary General Mr. Vladimir Norov emphasized that “e-commerce is a major driver of economic growth in both developed and developing countries, as well as a key driver of growth of the global trade and the global economy as a whole”. The Secretary General highlighted the advantages of digital e-commerce such as providing new jobs for women and young people and erasing boundaries between states and peoples while pointing to the necessity to combat cybercrime and other information threats.

According to the Secretary General, “SCO is a huge market for implementation of joint innovative projects in the field of development of IT and digital trade”. In the framework of SCO, a Special Working Group on Digital Trade has been established. At the meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the SCO member states in Tashkent in 2019, the Program of Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation of SCO Member States until 2035 was approved. Mr. Vladimir Norov said that the Organization is now working on a Program of Cooperation of the SCO Member States in Development of Digital Trade and expressed confidence that the AGORA Youth Conference will produce concrete proposals and recommendations for inclusion in the Program of Development of Digital Trade within SCO.

Keynote speeches were also delivered by Mrs. Chen Yiwei, Director of International Office of Department of Electronic Commerce of Ministry of Commerce of China, Nie Lixia, General Manager of Innoway, Luo Lin, Director of International Government and Public Affairs of Alibaba Group, and Mr. Jia Tiesong, Coordinator of International Youth Business Incubator of SCO Countries in All-China Youth Federation.

Next, delegates of the Fourth Model SCO delivered the results of their research on e-commerce in the SCO region. Youth representatives laid emphasis on problems existing in this field on the examples of some SCO countries and proposed recommendations on how to improve digital economy in SCO through providing trainings in e-commerce by SCO University, using e-commerce in agriculture to encourage local producers, organizing online shopping festivals in all SCO countries and work on effective e-commerce development strategies.

In the framework of the Conference Du Xiaoyu, Secretary-General of Tencent Financial Research Institute delivered a presentation on mobile payments in China. Mao Lisha, Director of the Department of Public Affairs of Ant Financial spoke about new technology and how it can promote development of a new quality. Liu Jie, Co-CEO of Chongqing Heqing Industrial Group focused on the building of e-commerce ecosystem in the SCO Region, while Alexey Karpenko, Founder & CEO of travel platform Joinpro (SCO Youth Card) and Head of SCO Youth Council Secretariat shared ideas about driving tourism through e-commerce.

The Conference also witnessed the signing ceremony of two cooperation agreements between SCOLAR Network and Innoway on jointly exchanging the knowledge and information, as well as organizing training and providing internship opportunities for SCOLAR members in Innoway. The second signing was held between SCOLAR Network and travel platform JoinPRO (SCO Youth Card) on attracting more students and young professionals to promote tourism within the SCO region, including “Eight Wonders of SCO”.

Thereafter, the event consisted of three panel discussions followed by Q&A sessions. The first panel discussion was on the theme “Piecing Together The E-Commerce Mosaic: Supply Chain Challenges and Opportunities” where panelists shared their insights and experience in working in the field of logistics, suggested using new technologies to improve communication and predicted future development of e-commerce market within SCO.

Meanwhile, the second panel discussion was on the theme “The Use of Traditional and New Financial Tools in The Era of The Digital Economy” where speakers noted that in today’s rapidly changing economy it’s necessary to learn from each other as some countries have a more developed e-commerce system. And only joint efforts can bring common prosperity. The third panel on “The Development of Startups in E-Commerce. Success and Lessons From Young Entrepreneurs” gathered talented young people who shared their entrepreneurship journey and what prospects e-commerce can bring to the youth of SCO countries.

The Q&A sessions after each panel discussion saw an active and enthusiastic audience as participants got the opportunity to clarify more about the digital economy and its’ future development in the SCO region.