Export Made Easy - Uzbekistan's First National Electronic Trading Platform
22 May 2016
By Blogging Consultant James Brindley
“Our company specializes in producing and selling fresh and dried agro-produce, and we are interested in expanding into new markets. The new ‘UzTrade’ trading platform provides us with a channel to offer products to a larger circle of potential overseas buyers,” entrepreneur Mr. Askar Kadirov told UNDP staff at the opening of Uzbekistan’s first online platform for international business.
Like Odinakhon Saidova, who we featured in a previous blog on international trade fairs, Mr. Kadirov’s goal is to turn domestic success into international trend-setting. His company Spectrum ITG exports fruits and vegetables, products that Uzbekistan is already renowned for, and the UzTrade website has been proved the best tool for facilitating this trade.
“I believe that through ‘UzTrade’ I will conclude more contracts and increase export volumes," he said. "I would like to thank the website’s initiators and developers for their good job. The initiative was simply necessary in the era of e-commerce.”
Ground-breaking tool for business
“Bill Gates’s quote – “If your business is not on the Internet, then your business will be out of business”, absolutely applies to benefits of the newly-established ‘UzTrade’ Electronic Trade Platform for Uzbekistan SMEs,” said website client Mr. Mumtoz Dalimov, from Tune Consulting LLC.
It's inescapable that Uzbek businesses wishing to work in international markets need websites, but setting up a page can be an expensive and difficult proposition. This is where the UzTrade website steps in, developed in a partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade of Uzbekistan (MFERIT), and UNDP’s ‘Aid for Trade’ project.
Think a social media site like Facebook, but designed first-and-foremost to break down the barriers between businesses and their clients.
UzTrade has a hotbed of tools, all designed to facilitate business transactions. Its content is segmented by products, categories and vendors, meaning its 1,103 manufacturers and 3,217 products ranging from stationary to strawberries can be accessed with just a few clicks. Companies and their staff are profiled on individual pages, giving businesses story and personality, while the website’s language changes depending on the user’s IP address.
Businesses can undertake every stage of their work through the website, from setting up contracts to contacting producers, and delivering products to buyers. The website also contains a database and statistics about the international business market, including details of trade fairs – in essence it’s a way of getting business done online with a lot less cost.
“It should be noted that the development and maintenance of private internet webpages by SMEs, and ensuring their promotion and client attraction, are costly and resource-consuming activities,” said the Shohruh Khodzhaev, a representative of the ‘UzTadbirkorEksport’ specialized foreign trade company, who played a crucial consultant role in the website’s development.
“By creating their own virtual trade office on UzTrade, a user creates their personalized webpage. The webpage allows for relevant online negotiations, the inclusion or removal of products, running reports, uploading images, and promoting videos or photos,” He said. “In other words, by creating a trade office on UzTrade and setting up a personal home page, there is no need to create another website.”
A successful work in progress
On May 3rd the website was launched by the UNDP ‘Aid for Trade’ project, at an event attended by 50 representatives of organizations and local SMEs, already with a strong business basis. Like all successful websites, UzTrade is a work in progress. In Mr. Khodzhaev’s speech, he indicated that discussions are on-going with Google and Yandex regarding the website’s SEO optimization, and that efforts have been taken to boost the website’s overseas profile. This will build a better experience and service for businesses like Mr Kadirov and Mr. Dalimov.
The ‘UzTrade’ website is a natural step in the ‘Aid for Trade’ project’s work to boost national business’s access to foreign markets. For more information about these efforts visit the project Facebook page, or its page on the UNDP Uzbekistan site.