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Alibaba Group eyes 1 billion users within five years

Alibaba Group says it aims to serve more than 1 billion consumers and exceed RMB10 trillion gross merchandise volume by 2024. 

Unveiling the Chinese tech giant’s five-year plan to the investment community, Alibaba Group executive chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang said the company remains “true to the mission it laid out over 20 years ago” of making it easy to do business anywhere. He said empowering merchants with data technology and cloud intelligence is essential to fulfill this mission in the digital era.

“Today, we are creating and fulfilling new consumption needs with a view to focus on growing our digital consumer population as a whole. We can unlock tremendous synergies between our various consumer-facing businesses to convert and harvest incremental customers across the Alibaba digital economy,” said Zhang.

In the year June 30, Alibaba Group had 730 million annual active consumers in its China consumer business, which includes its China retail marketplaces, digital media and entertainment, as well as local consumer services.

Together with 130 million annual active consumers in its cross-border and global retail-commerce business, Alibaba has about 860 million annual active consumers globally.

Its payments division Alipay, meanwhile, had about 900 million annual active users in China. Zhang said that while 85 per cent of Chinese people living in developed areas have tapped into Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces, the penetration rate is only 40 per cent in less-developed areas, offering a tremendous opportunity to reach underserved consumers there and improve their lives.

However, while absolute consumer numbers continue to rise, Zhang said it is just as important to view consumer needs holistically and serve them across all platforms in the Alibaba economy.

Alibaba’s five-year goals for its China consumer business put it on the path of meeting its longer-term global ambitions to serve 2 billion customers, support 10 million profitable SMEs and help create 100 million jobs by 2036.

Underpinning the company’s projected growth is the Alibaba Business Operating System, a full suite of digital tools that marries Alibaba’s commerce ecosystem and its cloud intelligence technology to empower brands and companies to reach more customers, better understand their needs and deepen engagement with them.

“We have always viewed technology through the lens of real business applications. We don’t view technology in isolation,” said Zhang. “We believe in the marriage of commerce and technology. This has always been Alibaba’s unique value proposition.”

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