Alibaba founder Jack Ma has discussed a possible investment in Liège, Belgium with the country's prime minister Charles Michel. Afterwards no decisive statements were made by either party.
Key link in network?
Ma departed hastily after the meeting and only disclosed that it concerns a major investment that will generate many jobs". Alibaba is investing heavily in its global distribution network and Liège could become a link in this network.
It is not clear how specific the conversations between Ma and Michel have been, as Michel was quoted saying "Alibaba is the designated party to communicate about this topic. Important steps are made. I expect an announcement from Alibaba shortly”. The prime minister clearly hopes for good news: On Twitter, he shared a video of his meeting with Ma. The caption suggests that he has one obsession: jobs in Belgium.
Earlier, Liège missed out on some major investments from e-commerce companies: high labour costs and lack of flexibility were quoted as the main reasons. Michel is not afraid this scenario will repeat itself: "Look at our assets, for instance our communication network. Implemented improvements are now becoming tangible for international companies”. However, the prime minister acknowledges that the Belgian economic and legal framework regarding e-commerce needs attention: "It is a potential source of job creation and is desperately needed.