initiative helps Vietnamese SMEs venture abroad, the global B2B e-commerce platform of Alibaba Group, launched a landmark initiative Monday to help companies in Vietnam go online and reach an enormous pool of qualified global buyers.

As an international extension of the 2020 Spring Thunder program initiated by Alibaba Group,’s ‘Project Sprout Up’ is a timely and tailored digital solution aimed at helping local SMEs compete through digitization amid the re-surfacing Covid-19 epidemic in Vietnam.

The initiative will support Vietnamese SMEs in three key areas – faster onboarding onto the platform for establishing a global reach, access to solutions designed to accelerate business growth, and tailored services to help SMEs deepen their online trade capabilities. These tailor-made services and a specially developed local program are bespoke to Vietnamese sellers on the platform.

“Vietnam has been gaining a strong reputation amongst global buyers with its manufacturing capabilities, high quality products, competitive pricing and focus on exports. While the B2C segment has adopted e-commerce more instinctively, some entrepreneurs have also established global B2B trading using digital channels,” said Zhang Kuo, general manager of

“This year even more businesses have felt the need for sustainable business models. We believe that global trade through B2B e-commerce can provide that opportunity and enable more SMEs to recover and even generate sustained growth,” Kuo added.

A survey by shows 65 percent of global buyers are now using online platforms to source products in place of on-site visits.

There are now more than 20 million active buyers from over 190 countries and regions and an average of 300,000 inquiries made daily for goods ranging from raw materials to finished products on the platform. Over 600,000 products from Vietnamese sellers are currently listed on the platform, including items from key local industries like food & beverage, furniture, home & garden, agriculture, and apparel.

Stepped Up Support for SMEs

Alibaba Group’s 2020 Spring Thunder initiative was launched in April 2020 by Daniel Zhang, Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group. The program deploys the power of commerce and technology Alibaba Group has harnessed over the past two decades to create new supply chains, stimulate new demand, and promote new trade through a series of key measures.

As an extension to this initiative,’s ‘Project Sprout Up’ aims to help SME suppliers in Vietnam create sustainable business models through customized solutions.

As part of the ‘Project Sprout Up’ initiative, will offer its suppliers a complete 90-day onboarding service covering a range of features including online store set-up, support on product postings, understanding of keyword advertising, and support on traffic management and enquiries.

This is backed by the use of AI to match buyers and sellers rapidly and more accurately on the platform, coupled with the sheer number of inquiries each day from buyers around the world.

With the aim of facilitating digital transformation awareness across the country, enabling local SMEs and helping them to recover, the platform has identified several changes in global consumer trends. The changes include increasing acceptance of e-commerce and emergence of new e-commerce models, growing focus on health awareness led consumption, popularity of products suited for in-home consumption while oriented towards value and purpose driven consumption.

Understanding these trends can create significant opportunities for Vietnamese sellers in the global arena.

Making it easy to go global

To give SMEs more confidence when participating in global trade, will make its Smart Marketing Solution, an intelligent keyword advertising tool, available to suppliers in Vietnam.

The tool draws on insights from the platform and AI algorithms to help suppliers market their products with intelligent pricing without additional labor or investment required. This solution will also enable businesses to understand the demand for a product category, offer pricing suggestions for their keyword bids to acquire new customer traffic and fine-tune their business strategies via a simple and basic interface, even for businesses new to the platform.

Vietnam has weathered the Covid-19 pandemic relatively well recently, however, one of the biggest challenges facing Vietnamese SMEs today is the lack of online trading skills.

To address the issue, will offer tailor-made training programs, which will highlight adaptable practices for all kinds of enterprise structures. Through systematic customer training sessions and service support programs, the ‘Project Sprout Up’ initiative will aim to create a successful roadmap for its members. has been enabling the growth of SMEs since 1999 with tools designed specifically for B2B trade. Supplier members on the platform are entitled to a suite of tools and services including a customized digital storefront, buyer analytics, targeted advertising, and support in the form of online courses as well as live customer support, among others.

SMEs interested in learning more about ‘Project Sprout Up’ can click here to fill in a survey, after which a representative of will reach out with further details.

The first business of Alibaba Group, was China’s largest integrated international online wholesale marketplace in 2019 by revenue, according to Analysys.

It connects Chinese and overseas suppliers to international wholesale buyers, who are typically trade agents, wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers and SMEs engaged in the import and export business. It provides them sourcing, online transaction, digital marketing, digital supply chain fulfilment and financial services

In the 12 months ending March 31, 2020, over 20 million buyers from approximately 190 countries had sourced business opportunities or completed transactions on

By Anh Nguyen  – VnExpress International

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