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Alibaba ‘world’s largest retailer’

Alibaba claims it is now the world’s largest retailer.

In a filing with the US SEC on Tuesday, Alibaba Group Holdings said that as of March 31, the end of its 2016 fiscal year, it has “become the largest retail economy in the world as measured by annual gross merchandise volume (GMV) on its China retail marketplaces.”

The assertion was backed by PricewaterhouseCoopers which had evaluated Alibaba data relevant to its group GMV.

In taking the position – foreshadowed for several weeks now – it has displaced US mass merchandise store network Walmart.

Alibaba has yet to release its trading figures for the 2016 year – however the SEC filing is a clear indication the Chinese retailer has surpassed Walmart’s US$482.1 billion figure reported by for its fiscal year to January 31.

A fortnight ago, Alibaba’s executive vice chairman, Joe Tsai, said that with 10 days remaining in its year to March, Alibaba’s China retail marketplace platforms had surpassed RMB3 trillion in GMV.

“That is about US$476 billion and, if the platforms we operate were a province, we would rank as the 6th largest provincial economy in China.”

Alibaba shows no signs of slowing growth, publicly targeting 6 trillion won GMV by 2020.

In other Alibaba news, the company completed its takeover of Hong Kong publisher SMCP Group on Tuesday and immediately removed the paywall of its flagship English language daily newspaper the South China Morning Post, making online content free to all. Subscribers to the print edition, and its digital replica, will still have to pay, however.

This story first appeared on sister site, Inside Retail Asia.

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