REACH­ING OUT TO THE WORLD

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI -

Chi­nese e-com­merce gi­ant Alibaba is bank­ing on its sub­sidiary AliEx­press, a shop­ping plat­form tar­geted at for­eign­ers only, to boost its profile in the global arena

Ac­cord­ing to Cainiao Pres­i­dent Wan Lin, his com­pany has teamed up with var­i­ous postal ser­vices to en­sure faster cus­toms clear­ance, in­clud­ing a part­ner­ship with US Postal Ser­vice, Brazil­ian Post, a stake pur­chase in Sin­ga­pore Post and an e-com­merce tie-up with Aus­tralian Post.

AliEx­press has also be­come an in­trin­sic part of life for many women in Spain.

“The wed­ding is per­haps the most im­por­tant oc­ca­sion for women in the coun­try,” said Zu­niga Perez Pell, an em­ployee of AliEx­press in Spain. “In the past, Span­ish women never chose wed­ding dresses on­line. Now, it has be­come a rit­ual to browse AliEx­press first be­fore de­cid­ing on where to get a dress.”

Al­fonso Nor­iega Gomez, eco­nomic and com­mer­cial coun­selor of the Con­sulate Gen­eral of Spain in Shang­hai, pointed out that e-com­merce is a key driver in pro­mot­ing trade and eco­nomic re­la­tions and a ma­jor gate­way to dis­cover prod­ucts around the world.

“Through Tmall and Tmall Global, Chi­nese con­sumers are able to en­joy prod­ucts from Spain. We hope AliEx­press can bring to life the vir­tual Silk Road by con­nect­ing Chi­nese mer­chan­dise with for­eign

coun­tries in­clud­ing Spain,” he said dur­ing an AliEx­press con­fer­ence in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, in April.

Alibaba’s global ex­pan­sion will likely be a win-win sce­nario for both global shop­pers and ex­port­driven Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers who are tran­si­tion­ing from be­ing orig­i­nal equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers to providers of more pre­mium prod­ucts.

NewVi­sion Arts, a Chi­nese cur­tain maker in Wen­zhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, is one of the Chi­nese com­pa­nies that have ben­e­fited from the grow­ing global pres­ence of AliEx­press. Ac­cord­ing to its gen­eral man­ager Cheng Shouxin, the com­pany re­ceives a steady stream of or­ders from US clients for tai­lor­made cur­tains and can earn up to $850,000 in rev­enue a month.

Alibaba has also sought to gain a larger share of the global e-com­merce pie through ac­qui­si­tions. In 2016, Alibaba ac­quired Sin­ga­pore on­line gro­cery plat­form Red Mart. Tech­nol­ogy news site TechCrunch quoted sources say­ing the deal was worth up to $40 mil­lion.

That same year, the Chi­nese e-com­merce gi­ant also bought a con­trol­ling stake in Lazada, one of South­east Asia’s largest on­line shop­ping plat­forms, for $1 bil­lion. This June, Alibaba in­vested an­other $1 bil­lion to raise its stakes to 83 per­cent, buy­ing out all other back­ers with the ex­cep­tion of Sin­ga­pore’s Te­masek Hold­ings.

Lazada has a foot­print in sev­eral mar­kets in the re­gion, in­clud­ing the Philip­pines, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, In­done­sia and Thai­land. Alibaba said in a re­cent re­port that Lazada had about 23 mil­lion ac­tive cus­tomers in the 12 months through the end of March 2017.

Alibaba is also in the midst of build­ing an e-com­merce and lo­gis­tics hub in Thai­land that will pro­vide a one-stop ser­vice con­nect­ing SMEs, man­u­fac­tur­ers, ser­vice providers and lo­gis­tic part­ners. In ad­di­tion, Ant Fi­nan­cial, Alibaba’s digital fi­nan­cial ser­vices arm that op­er­ates Ali­pay, bought a stake in Thai fin­tech com­pany As­cend Money in 2016.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

More for­eign­ers are start­ing to shop on AliEx­press plat­form as Alibaba’s foot­print ex­pands to more than 220 coun­tries and re­gions.

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