Belgian intelligence agencies are closely monitoring the operations of Chinese tech giant Alibaba at a logistics hub due to concerns that the company might be utilizing software to gather sensitive economic data. The State Security Service (VSSE) in Belgium has expressed suspicions of potential espionage and interference activities linked to Chinese entities, including Alibaba.
Alibaba, which has invested over €100 million ($105 million) in a logistics hub at Liège Airport, denied any wrongdoing. The VSSE highlighted the Chinese National Intelligence Law, which allows Beijing to compel Chinese individuals and businesses to cooperate with intelligence agencies, as a reason for concern.
The VSSE emphasized that Alibaba’s presence is a focal point of attention because of the potential for China to utilize the collected data for non-commercial purposes. They stated that economic activities between Belgium and China are closely intertwined, warranting vigilance in monitoring China’s efforts to advance its interests in Belgium.
One of the specific espionage concerns centers around Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform (EWTP), which could provide China with insights into Western supply chains and vulnerabilities. Jonathan Holslag, a professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, noted the value of such knowledge for China, particularly in its quest to dominate global supply chains.