Based on recent comments from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) SVP Sophie Wu, it appears that Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) really is set on global domination, with the Middle East next up on their list. Jack Ma has been quite frank about his ambitions to expand the giant Chinese etailer beyond Asia, but most analysts expected the firm to focus on North America and Europe before looking further abroad.

Alibaba Planning Expansion Into Middle East

In a related note, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced on Wednesday, November 26th that is was partnering with international e-commerce titan Alibaba Group to launch a procurement site for suppliers to the six-month-long World Expo 2020 in Dubai

Statement from Alibaba SVP Sophie Wu

During a speech at the Middle East and North Africa e-Commerce Conference on Wednesday Wu noted, Through our e-commerce platforms, local Arab traders can reach out to the Chinese market and to the world as Alibaba.com is China’s largest global online wholesale marketplace by revenue, having in store thousands of products in over 40 industries with registered users in 240 countries.

Wu also pointed out that “with 2.6 million users, the Middle East is one of the top growing regions for Alibaba.com.”

She also commented that the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and WorldExpo in 2020 will be two key Middle Eastern-hosted events that Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) hopes to be involved with and benefit from.

Analyst perspectives

Of interest, united Arab Emirates-based consultancy firm Frost and Sullivan anticipates e-commerce sales in the Middle East increasing from $2.5 billion in 2014 up to around $10 billion by 2018.

Alibaba already has some operations in the Middle East, as close to 12,000 Dubai Chamber of Commerce member firms have upgraded to e-commerce status since May 2012. Doing so gives the member firm access to the Mandarin online website 1688.com, which is owned and operated by Alibaba.

Of note, shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) are down 0.63% at $112.75.