China / Society

Alibaba opens 3 online malls to sell Xinjiang products

By Cui Jia and Zhang Jing in Urumqi (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-25 07:43

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group opened three online malls on Monday to help sell more specialties from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to the rest of China and the world.

Announcing the move, Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of the group, said it is apart of the agreement Alibaba Group signed with the regional government on Sunday that aims to develop better e-commerce, cloud computing and big data analysis in Xinjiang.

"Alibaba now has more than 600 million users, and I believe many of them want us to deepen the cooperation with Xinjiang. We could sell cherries from the United States to the Chinese market, of course, but we could sell more local products from Xinjiang to the rest of China and even the world, "Ma said when he met Zhang Chunxian, Party chief of Xinjiang in the regional capital of Urumqi on Sunday evening.

One of the new online malls focuses on business-to-business bulk sales of Xinjiang specialties, such as raisins, walnuts and dried dates. The other two are designed to sell products from southern Xinjiang's Kashgar prefecture and northern Xinjiang's Ily Kazakh prefecture to online shoppers.

Alibaba opens 3 online malls to sell Xinjiang products

Another mall specializing in agricultural and handicraft products from southern Xinjiang's Aksu prefecture will open soon.

Specialties from Xinjiang have gained more popularity, and even Ma said he regularly purchases dried fruits from the region. The sales of products sold by sellers in Xinjiang reached 1.3 billion yuan ($212 million) on T-mall, the sister e-commerce platform of Alibaba's Taobao in the first half of 2014, an increase of 68.7 percent year-on-year.

Ma said he wants to bring the scale of Xinjiang's e-commerce to another level by serving small and medium-sized enterprises as well as local farmers. Globalization and developing rural markets form the group's strategy.

"We hope to convey knowledge to villagers in rural areas via the Internet and sell their products to other parts of China," Ma said.

Alibaba is carrying out trials of running county-level e-commerce in Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces that will later extend to the rest of China. The group believes the format could present quality Xinjiang products directly to Chinese online customers.

"Education is key to promoting e-commerce to local farmers. Local governments have responsibilities to teach them how to use the Internet to sell products so they can earn more by cutting out the middlemen," said Su Guoping, deputy director of Xinjiang's Commission of Economy and Information Technology.

Ma also plans to invest in the logistics industry in Xinjiang the westernmost region of China. "We can only say the logistics industry in China is developed when sending a parcel to Xinjiang is as fast as sending one to big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai," he said. The group is also planning to build a storage warehouse in Xinjiang, which borders with eight countries and serves as a logistics hub on the Silk Road Economic Belt.

"Alibaba will use the warehouse to sell products from other parts of China to Central Asian countries," said Gao Hongbing, vice-president of the group.

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