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E-commerce platform eyes 100 million overseas Chinese

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has this week launched a new platform called Tmall World, taking aim at the approximately 100 million Chinese consumers living overseas.

Tmall World gives overseas consumers access to 1.2 billion products available through Taobao, Tmall and other e-commerce platforms.

Priority markets include Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, which all have significant Chinese-speaking populations.

While consumers outside China could previously buy most items listed on Taobao and Tmall, they had limited shipping and delivery options.

Alibaba now provides merchants and brands with the necessary logistics and payment solutions, as well as end-to-end localisation support, to reach the global Chinese market.

Internet Retailing has learnt that Tmall World will likely feature some SKUs from Australian and New Zealand merchants selling on Alibaba’s other platform, but it is unlikely to have a significant impact on their business.

An Alibaba spokesperson said this is due to the increased cost of shipping.

In order to purchase items on Tmall World, a Chinese-language website, customers must have an Alipay account, which requires users to have a Chinese bank account.

The platform is not targeting Australian consumers or indeed global consumers more broadly, who Alibaba targets through AliExpress. Rather, Tmall World fits into the company’s overall global strategy.

Alibaba has been ramping up its presence in South East Asia since it invested $1 billion in e-commerce site Lazada last year.

The company recently launched a curated selection of products, called Taobao Collection, in Singapore and Malaysia to appeal to non-Chinese-speaking consumers in those markets.

Speaking to investors last week, Jack Ma, the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to serving 2 billion customers around the world by 2036.

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