Business / Companies

Alibaba on way to being top retailer

By Cai Xiao and Meng Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2016-03-22 02:28

Alibaba on way to being top retailer

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is expected to soon surpass Wal-Mart as the world’s largest retail platform, with total trading volume in the current fiscal year exceeding 3 trillion yuan ($463.3 billion), the company said on Monday.

Alibaba’s fiscal year started on April 1 and ends on March 31.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc posted net sales of $478.6 billion for its fiscal year ending Jan 31.

The latest trading volume figure for Alibaba is equivalent to Sichuan province’s gross domestic product last year, when the province’s GDP ranked sixth on the Chinese mainland.

Zhang Yong, the company’s CEO, said in Hangzhou that the figure was recorded on the company’s business-to-customer platform Tmall, consumer-to-consumer platforms Taobao and Rural Taobao, and group-buying site Juhuasuan as of 2:58 pm on Monday.

Zhang said he expected the company will achieve an annual trading volume of 6 trillion yuan by 2020, and that “in 2024, we want to be a business platform serving 2 billion consumers and tens of millions of enterprises at home and abroad”.

According to Zhang, the company will strive to combine cloud computing and big data technologies with the Internet and the Internet of Things, as well as consumer terminal equipment, to spur its development.

The Internet of Things is the network of physical objects — devices, vehicles, buildings and other items — embedded with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data.

Citing the National Bureau of Statistics and McKinsey & Co figures, Gao Hongbing, director of AliResearch, said that of Alibaba’s 3 trillion yuan in total trading volume, about 660 billion to 1.17 trillion yuan is newly increased consumption.

“Online shopping has been an important engine to promote consumption, which meets the nation’s strategy of promoting domestic demand,” said Gao.

Last year, Chinese consumers’ willingness to spend reached the highest level since 2012, despite the economic slowdown, according to a study published in February by The Nielsen Co.

“This is a result of China’s commitment to shifting from an investment-driven to a consumption-driven economy,” said Kiki Fan, managing director of Nielsen China.

“Booming online shopping provides more variety and convenience to customers, thus fueling their spending desire.”

Despite its economic growth falling below 7 percent for the first time since 2009, China surpassed the United States last year to become the largest e-commerce market in the world, according to statistics from multinational consultancy Forrester Research Inc.

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