Alibaba Focuses on Expanding Australian Operations

Earlier this year, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announced that it was launching an Australian office in late 2016. With group president Michael Evans currently visiting Australia and New Zealand, further details have emerged regarding the company’s Australia-New Zealand strategy.

Evans confirmed that the company’s first ANZ office would open in Melbourne later this year, and that Australia is a key part of its globalisation strategy.

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, Evans laid out Alibaba’s strategy for developing its Australian presence beyond e-commerce and into payments and cloud services.

“ANZ is one of our key markets and a stronger presence here will advance our global goal of serving two billion consumers,” Evans said.

Alibaba’s platforms are already have a substantial user base in Australia, connecting with about 500,000 consumers, said Evans. To service those local users, and for Chinese visitors, the company is planning on building out its AliPay payment service in Australia.

The company is also looking to establish a cloud computing business in Australia, as well as building out its local logistics infrastructure.

With Alibaba looking to significantly ramp up its Australian scope and operations, the company will be looking to expand its local workforce.

“We don’t believe you can build a business here without people. Some of our competitors have tried,” Evans told AFR. ” “We are going to have quite a large number of people working here in the next five to 10 years.”

Australian products sold over Alibaba’s platforms, such as Tmall Global, have been performing well and an increasing number of Aussie retailers have been pursuing growth in the Chinese market. There are 1,300 Australian brands available over Alibaba’s online platforms, with 80 percent of these brands entering the Chinese market via Alibaba.

Some of the standout categories for Aussie brands in China include vitamins and supplements, health and beauty, baby formula and milk products and wine. Some of Australia’s largest brands and retailers have already partnered with or launched through Alibaba, such as Australia Post, Fonterra and Woolworths.


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