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Chinese web giant Alibaba to build European hub in Liège
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is to set up a major logistics centre in Liège - its first hub in Europe - in what is being hailed as a boost for Belgium's economy and jobs.
The move will give Alibaba a stronger position in the European market, where Amazon is its biggest rival, while also making it easier for Chinese customers to buy goods from Europe.
A vast warehouse, around 380,000m², will be built near Liège airport. "The extension of Alibaba in Europe will not stop there," said Alibaba's head of European operations, Terry von Bibra.
"After a while we will look at how it works and whethere there is an opportunity to create a second or third European centre."
Federal economy minister Kris Peeters met company executives during a trip to Shanghai last week to confirm the deal.
"We were able to convince them of Belgium's attractive tax environment and the quality of our workforce," said prime minister Charles Michel. "This is good news for employment and economic development around Liège airport - and more generally for our entire country."
He added: "Thanks to this major investment by a global e-commerce giant, Belgium is putting itself on the global map of the digital economy, promising growth and jobs in the near future."