Shanghai Business Connect calls for digital cooperation


The past 20 years can be called a period of active development of multifaceted cooperation within the SCO, a successful combination of national and regional interests in many areas of economic development of our countries


BEIJING: A group of dynamic business entrepreneurs and diplomats from countries associated with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) gathered over the weekend at the launch of the first Shanghe Business Connect (SBC) event in Shanghai to network and discuss collaborations in an increasingly digitalized world, a process that has gained additional momentum and significance in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two-day congregation was also the first SCO-related event in a year that marks the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Eurasian bloc. 

“The past 20 years can be called a period of active development of multifaceted cooperation within the SCO, a successful combination of national and regional interests in many areas of economic development of our countries,” SCO Secretary General Vladimir Norov said in his opening remarks delivered via a video message at the SBC launch event on Saturday.

“Today, the SCO countries, by joining forces, are jointly fighting the coronavirus pandemic, which, along with causing significant damage to the economy and public health, has accelerated the process of digital transformation in almost all sectors of the socio-economic life of our states,” Norov emphasized.

“It is obvious that the development of the digital economy and the active use of modern digital technologies can play a decisive role in overcoming the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and creating new sources of economic growth in our countries, which is of particular importance, and is one of the main directions of the SCO’s activities,” he added.

The SBC describes its mission as bringing together the best practices and tools from companies in e-commerce, AI and Fintech from China and other SCO countries and synergizing them in the implementation of sound, and contemporary trade practices aimed at improving people’s livelihood.

Noting that the strengthening of digital connectivity in the SCO countries will open up new prospects and opportunities for economic development and increase the investment attractiveness of the region, Norov expressed hope that the SBC “will make a constructive contribution to the further development of digitalization and the development of mutually beneficial cooperation in the digital economy in the SCO space.”

SCO Deputy Secretary General Sherali Jonon addressed the gathering in person. He reiterated the Eurasian bloc’s commitment to the “the development of digitalization, telecommunication technologies, smart city technology and new production technologies based on robotics and artificial intelligence.”

“In this regard, today’s event is timely and important in terms of the exchange of experience and the establishment of practical contacts between companies in the field of e-commerce and “smart” technologies, as well as in the creation of innovative projects in the field of information technology and the digital economy,” Jonon remarked.

Since its foundation on June 15, 2001, the SCO has expanded over the past two decades to now represent more than 60 percent of the Eurasian landmass and close to 50 percent of the world’s population.

“The new year has given us the opportunity to come together in the city where it all started… Personally, I see a lot of symbolism and synergy for the SCO’s 20th anniversary year to begin in the city of its birth and with the first Shanghe Business Connect,” said Olim Alimov, CEO of ShangHe Trade and Culture House and also the Director of UCBC Beijing.

“The SBC is a platform that brings together multitalented entrepreneurs from the SCO countries to build new and meaningful relationships in order to establish sustainable partnership that can not only result in co-creation of projects but lasting friendship,” Alimov said, adding that earlier on Friday the Shanghe Network–Business Club was launched to “drive the SBC mission throughout China and the greater SCO space.”

We will work hard towards building the platform where trade could be simpler, investment could be smarter, sustainable and systematic, financing could be cheap and traveling to any of the SCO country could be like going back home. Because, for us, SCO is home,” Olim added, encapsulating the “Shanghai Spirit” that delineates the founding principles of the SCO.

The event was jointly organized by Yan’nan Jiutian Technology Co. Ltd. and ShangHe Trade and Culture House in cooperation with and support from the SCO Secretariat, the Business Council Secretariat, SCOLAR Network (a youth platform for SCO countries), and the United Center for Business Cooperation (UCBC Beijing).

Other key speakers at the SBC launch event included Shen Huadi, member of the standing committee of Jiading District Committee and deputy district mayor; Zhu Tao, deputy director of Shanghai Internet Information Office; Sergey Kanavskiy, executive secretary of the SCO Business Council; Beknazar Dzekshenkulov, minister counsellor at the Embassy of Kyrgyz Republic in China and also the permanent representative of his country to the SCO Secretariat; Muhammad Rumman Ahmad, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the SCO Secretariat; and Muhammad Egamzod, Tajikistan’s permanent representative to the SCO Secretariat.