African tech-driven logistics company, GIG Logistics expands to China

Eberechukwu Etike
GIGL is bridging the gap between China & Nigeria’s commerce by solving one of the biggest challenges in e-commerce…
GIG Logistics expands services to China
GIG Logistics expands services to China

Africa’s leading tech-driven delivery company, GIG Logistics (GIGL) has expanded its services to China. This brings the total number of countries it presently operates to four. Beyond the shores of Nigeria, GIGL has already established branches in Ghana, the United States and the United Kingdom.

By leveraging technology and prior experience in the logistics space in four countries, GIGL, through this expansion will help to fix the recurring challenges associated with international purchases as well as increase the opportunities for Africans to buy from merchants in China through the GIGGo app and get superfast hassle-free shipping at affordable rates.

Speaking on the expansion, Eleanor Cui, country manager for GIGL, China, said: “In my over two decades of logistics experience in China, I have seen the difficulties encountered by retail and wholesale consumers when it comes to payment for goods. GIGL is bridging the gap between China & Nigeria’s commerce by solving one of the biggest challenges in the e-commerce industry: payment in local currency when shopping on foreign websites.”

By providing a convenient and accessible payment option for online shoppers in Nigeria, customers can now shop from Chinese stores & suppliers and make all payments in NAIRA instead of RMB. 

– Eleanor Cui

GIG Logistics is Nigeria’s first leading indigenous logistics company to expand to northeastern Asia. With over 122 experience centres in Nigeria and Overseas, GIGL is constantly setting the pace in the logistics industry by providing innovative logistics solutions to its millions of customers (Individuals, corporate, or E-commerce) worldwide.

Chief Executive Officer of GIGL, Chidi Ajaere, explained that the company aims at providing the crucial structure Africa needs to power its growing eCommerce space in a post-COVID world.

“We see GIGL as the gateway for commerce in Africa and believe that the continent can benefit from harnessing digitalization in the eCommerce space. We are deliberate about building digital solutions that address the critical concerns around global commerce”, he explains.

In a chat with Dr Ocholi Etu, the Director of Operations of GIG Logistics, he told Technext that the launch was originally planned for last year but was postponed due to payment concerns. However, transactions will now be carried out locally using a GIGL local bank account and using Nigeria’s currency, NAIRA.

This is a great idea given the unremitting challenges many Africans face the existing payment options available for carrying out international purchases.

He went on to say that the team is working on more creative ways to provide customers with more enhanced services by deploying technology that will help with goods purchases and transportation.

One of these is the creation of Kim, an Artificial Intelligence personal shopper.

Read also: “We Want to Bridge the Gap with Overseas Shipping” – GIG Logistics’ Ariyo Oluboye Speaks on UK Expansion

Meet Kim, GIG Logistics’ AI personal shopper

Kim is an Artificial Intelligence tool and the new GIG Logistics personal shopper, that will serve as a middleman between Chinese vendors and Nigerian consumers.

The AI feature has been developed to accurately translate languages, improve communication with these Chinese businesses and communicate precise consumer requests.

About GIG Logistics AI personal shopper, Kim
About GIG Logistics AI personal shopper, Kim

Conversations with the bot will be via WhatsApp and WeChat. According to Dr Ocholi, the WhatsApp option was selected since the aim is to make this opportunity available to everyone. According to a Statista report, WhatsApp is the most widely utilised platform in the nation with over 90 million users, so including it is a really smart move.

Read Also: “The future of mobility is technology-driven”: Key takeaways from GIGM’s African Mobility Conference

With this expansion, GIG Logistics services are available for popular Chinese brands like Alibaba and other local merchants and sites across the country via the AI tool, Kim. With this comes the possibility of a protracted hiccup in the refund process.

But Dr Ocholi said that while GIG Logistics is a third party in the game, the merchants’ refund policies are what the customers would be subjected to. He added that the GIG Logistics team in China will conduct a comprehensive inspection of the items to ensure quality and to match the customer’s description.

Why China?

China is one of the world’s main manufacturing nations with affordable pricing to buy goods, and many Nigerians have turned to the country to make these purchases. Some small business owners, source relatively all of their supplies from here.

In March 2022, Nigeria’s overall imports from China increased to 1.278 USD billion, according to a CEIC Data. This illustrates the extensive trade relationship that exists between the two countries despite many challenges.

GIG Logistics intends to alleviate some of these obstacles through this expansion.

GIG Logistics expands its services to China to help boost the e-commerce market
GIG Logistics expands its services to China to help boost the e-commerce market

However, many variables have influenced the purchasing of international goods, one of which is the CBN-regulated restrictions of international payment services, which GIG intends to address as it develops and expands its services.

Read also: Here is how you can earn extra cash with the GIGM Ambassador app

What else?

When asked about the company’s expansion intentions, he explained:

I can tell you that for GIG whose mission is to become the gateway to Africa and out of Africa, there is a plan to dominate globally but we curate our movements based on where we are seeing heavy demands. We are also thinking of expanding further within Africa.

As these new services become available, Dr Ocholi elaborated on the policies governing goods transportation.

For the time being, the company’s concentration will be on air cargo importation, which may limit the acquisition of particular commodities. However, there are intentions to expand into marine freight services in the future.

Finally, the company aims to live up to its reputation for on-time delivery. However, the transit time may differ slightly, and in addressing the difficulties, he explained:

“After payment has been done, it has to first be shipped to us. In logistics, we call that the first mile. Then, there is the middle mile that brings it to our office in Lagos and the last mile that delivers it to you. The middle and the last mile are 100% within our control and when it gets to us, within 5-7 days, we should be able to get it to Lagos under normal circumstances”.

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