In recent history, globalization has evolved over four major stages: commodity globalization, capital globalization, information globalization and data globalization. As a dominant form of interaction between nation states, international trade is undergoing rapid digitization. As the WTO has lowered the barrier for international trade in the past decades, the emergence of the internet has reduced information asymmetries across countries. These two factors have contributed chiefly to the rapid growth in international trade. According to figures, in 2016, the total global import and export has reached USD 31.15 trillion, is equivalent to the combined GDP of China and the United States. A global trade system with unprecedented size and scope has emerged as a result.
Unfortunately, crucial obstacles still persist in four critical aspects in the current trade system: business flow, goods flow, capital flow and information flow. Lack of fundamental improvements in these four areas has become a drag on the growth of international trade.
1. Business flow —— high cost of trust and credit building between parties.
2. Goods flow —— high cost of tracking the entire supply chain, and difficult to accurately and reliably trace the source of goods.
3. Capital flow —— Long cross-border settlement period, lack of cost effective financial support system, which is of particular importance to small and medium-sized companies.
4. Information flow —— fragmented trade information and centralized service platforms.