In August, Alibaba hired former Goldman Sachs executive Michael Evans to push its globalization efforts. The company has been looking to expand internationally amid slowing Chinese economic growth. And now Michael Evans has made his first big move. The Chinese e-commerce giant announced Tuesday that it would open offices in Italy, Germany and France. Alibaba aims to become the “gateway to China” for European merchants.
Alibaba to expand further in the U.S.
The European offices will be opened in the next few months. Evans said the Hangzhou-based company will expand further in the United States. In an attempt to lure Western brands to set up shops on Alibaba’s sites, he said China’s middle-class would grow to about 500 million in the next decade. And these consumers have an appetite for high-quality, authentic international products.
In August, Alibaba signed exclusive deals with several Western brands like Zara, Bershka and Timberland to become the sole online sales platform for these brands in China. As the Chinese economy continues to cool, Alibaba has stepped up its globalization efforts to boost investor sentiment. Alibaba’s Singles’ Day (Nov.11) promotional event is less than a month away, and the company wants to attract as many international merchants ass possible.
Alibaba to promote cross-border trade at this year’s event
Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said the company would be promoting the sale of international products to Chinese customers and vice-versa at this year’s Singles’ Day event. Last year, Alibaba’s marketplaces sold $9.34 billion worth of goods on Singles’ Day, smashing all the previous records. Investors are looking forward to the company’s second-quarter results to see the signs of a revival.
However, the Chinese e-commerce giant has been unable to fight the sale of counterfeit goods, which may keep some international brands away. Another focus of expansion will be location-based services this year. In August, Alibaba invested $4.6 billion in Suning Commerce Group. About 100,000 brick-and-mortar stores of Suning and other retail chains will participate in Singles’ Day.