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Now the world can share Alibaba's success

By Edith Mutethya | China Daily Africa | Updated: 2017-07-16 14:26

With globalization as its long-term strategy, Alibaba Group, the world's largest retailer, aims to serve 2 billion consumers around the planet, generating 40 percent of its revenue outside China over the next decade.

In the past, globalization has benefited a mere 20 percent of the world - the developed countries and large enterprises. However, future globalization should bring benefits to the remaining 80 percent, particularly by enabling small and medium-sized enterprises.

Alibaba aims to help SMEs globally expand beyond their borders by leveraging the power of e-commerce, internet financing, big data, marketing and logistics platforms.

"We believe Alibaba Group's experience in China can be applied globally, giving all SMEs the opportunity to participate and compete in a transparent and fair marketplace. Future economic globalization will allow consumers everywhere to access a truly global purchasing experience," says Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group.

Ma says the size, strength, scale and leadership of Alibaba's existing China platforms give it great advantages. This is in addition to the fact that China is both a worldwide "supplier" and "consumer", giving it significant leverage and competitive advantages in its efforts to build international cross-border business.

He says there is massive opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to sell goods and products to the growing Chinese consumer class, who are mostly using the internet to import goods.

China's middle-class population is close to 300 million, and in the next five years it's expected to reach 600 million. Nevertheless, their level of consumption is still below their income level. Chinese households have $4.6 trillion in aggregate net cash reserves.

"These consumers are hungry for high-quality global products. Last year, Chinese consumers spent nearly $5 trillion, surpassing the US as the world's largest retail market. They are increasingly shopping online, and more specifically on mobile. By next year, China's online spending will be greater than the rest of the world combined," Ma says.

By 2020, he says, more than $150 billion of sales in China are expected to be generated through cross-border e-commerce.

Noting that cross-border commerce is the focus of the company's globalization initiative, Ma says it aims to address three "pillars": from China to the world, from the world to China and from the world to the world.

"Our China retail marketplaces (Taobao, Tmall and Juhuasuan) provide the gateway for international brands, retailers and SMEs to access Chinese consumers," he says.

Through wholesale marketplace, the company facilitates global trade by connecting Chinese suppliers to importers, wholesalers and distributors across the world.

On the world-to-the world initiative, Ma says the company operates e-commerce platforms in Southeast Asia through Lazada. In April 2016, it acquired a controlling stake in Lazada, which operates e-commerce platforms in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Founded in 1999, Alibaba Group is the largest retail commerce company in the world in terms of gross merchandise volume. As of March 31, the company had 454 million annual active buyers and 507 million mobile monthly active users on its China retail marketplaces, connecting with millions of merchants and brands.

Alibaba is well-known for creating and operating the world's largest one-day online shopping festival every year, on November 11. During last year's shopping festival, the company generated a GMV of 120.7 billion yuan ($17.8 billion) settled through Alipay within a 24-hour period.

 Now the world can share Alibaba's success

Alibaba Xixi Park in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Provided to China Daily

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