Alibaba’s Next Online Stop: The Whole World

By He Wei
China Daily, Beijing / Asia News Network

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Alibaba is expanding overseas aggressively using AliExpress, in the process taking on global rivals such as Amazon and eBay.

China Daily, Beijing / Asia News Network

For Carine Danblier, 51, a Belgian housewife based in Brussels, shopping on Chinese online marketplace AliExpress has proved to be nothing short of a treasure hunt.

Every week, she snaps up cooking accessories, shoes and electronic gadgets directly from China via AliExpress, a subsidiary of Alibaba Group Holding. A few taps on her device keypad, followed by a few days in wait-that’s all it takes for the tamper-proof parcels to materialise at her doorstep.

So impressed was Danblier with AliExpress that she created a Facebook page just to share images of the goodies as well as information on online deals. Two years on, the page has 100,000 followers.

Alibaba has also become famous in Europe for its Singles Day shopping extravaganza on Nov 11, which created a buzz on online social media. The shopping fest has made Alibaba the world’s top e-commerce marketplace by transaction value. It reported a gross merchandise volume of $485 billion in fiscal year 2016. This is higher than $482 billion in revenues netted by Walmart Inc in the same period.

Alibaba is expanding overseas aggressively using AliExpress, in the process taking on global rivals such as Amazon and eBay.

Founded in 2010, AliExpress is the equivalent of Alibaba’s business-to-customer site Tmall, but targets only overseas customers. It has attracted more than 100 million international buyers as of April, said Dai Shan, president of Alibaba’s business-to-business unit.

Following a decade of explosive growth, China’s online retail market is expected to slow down to a 15 percent compounded annual growth rate, consultancy Mintel has projected. This means internet behemoths like Alibaba need to foray abroad for new sources of income.

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