Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has launched a new initiative (2020 Spring Thunder Initiative) to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in China during the current Coronavirus pandemic.

Announcing via a staff memo and as reported on The Drum, chairman and chief executive Daniel Zhang said the initiative includes, but is not limited to, helping export-focused SMEs expand into new markets through AliExpress, Lazada and Tmall World.

In addition, Alibaba will be helping a selective group of SMEs to transform and develop their practices in the Chinese market through measures such as resource support, fee reductions and fast track processing. This will be done by activating manufacturing belts, incubating a group of “Super Producer IP” designations, and fostering 10 digitised manufacturing clusters with production output valued at tens of billions in RMB.

Furthermore, the e-commerce giant will support alleviate financing challenges for more SMEs by extending “immediate settlement” services until June 30.

“The pandemic has exacted tremendous pain to our world, but it cannot stop hope from being born. In the global and China fight against the pandemic, Alibaba has proven to be a bulwark in the battle through our concrete actions. This pandemic will ultimately end, and we will eventually see the beginnings of new life,” said Zhang.

“We must band together with the SMEs that need the most help, and convert Alibaba’s resources into strength for the SMEs. We must turn the “danger” brought about by the pandemic into “opportunity” for SMEs to prepare for the future through digital transformation. Now is the time for Alibaba to give back to our community and to give back to our SMEs.”