Alibaba has promised to focus on importing more goods from countries like Australia and the US, in a bid to supply Chinese consumers with a larger range of quality products.
At its Global Import Leadership Summit, held at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, the e-commerce juggernaut pledged to import $200 billion worth of goods from more than 120 countries over the next five years.
According to Alibaba Group’s CEO, Daniel Zhang, this promise is part of a broader commitment to meet consumer demand for high-quality international products.
“Globalisation is one of Alibaba’s most critical long-term growth strategies. We are building the future infrastructure of commerce to realise a globalised digital economy where trade is possible for every country around the world,” he said.
“Leveraging Alibaba’s innovative technology and robust ecosystem, we are committed to making global trade more inclusive and fulfilling our mission ‘to make it easy to do business anywhere’ in the digital era.”
The company aims to make this goal a reality by 2023, with efforts to increase the number of imports starting as soon as 2019. Alibaba says it will look to expand its range international goods on its marketplace from businesses of all sizes, with products being sourced from countries like Germany, Japan, Australia, the US and South Korea.
China’s robust economic growth in recent years has increased the number of middle-to-high income earners shopping online in China’s e-commerce market. Because of this boost in demand, the country has seen a greater level of interest in imported, quality goods. A recent report by Deloitte China, the China Chamber of International Commerce and AliResearch, suggests that China’s demand for cross-border commerce has seen sales from imports in direct relation to total sales in China’s online market jump from 1.6 percent in 2014 to 10.2 percent in 2017.
“China’s middle class is booming. As incomes are rising in China, consumers want faster access to and a wider variety of high-quality products from around the world,” said Alvin Liu, general manager of Tmall Import and Export.
According to Deloitte’s research, Tmall Global is expected to see a boost in the number of international sellers it has on its marketplace, with the number of shoppers on the platform already increasing ten-fold between 2014 and 2017.
“Tmall is uniquely positioned to help international brands tap into the growing China market as consumers seek to upgrade their lifestyle.”
Alibaba’s recent partnership with luxury goods holding company, Richemont is an example of the type of work Alibaba wants to achieve over the next four years, as the business strives to achieve its broader goal of serving two billion customers by 2036.
As part of the company’s latest deal, Alibaba will use Richemont’s Net-A-Porter and Mr Porter e-commerce formats to launch a new series of mobile shopping apps and online stores for the luxury retail market on its Tmall platform.
According to Richemont’s Chairman, Johann Rupert, Alibaba is legions ahead of any other platform in the luxury goods arena, making it the perfect platform to expand Richemont’s digital sales efforts.
“There’s not a luxury-goods company in the world that can catch up with where Alibaba is at,” he told the media in a statement at the end of October. “We simply don’t have the tools.”
This news comes off-the-back of Alibaba’s financial results for the period ending September 30, with the company reporting 54 percent of year-on-year growth.