Alibaba's next online stop: the whole world

Updated 2017-05-11 10:31:09 China Daily
A Russian consumer shows her passport to identify herself at a goods collection center of AliExpress in Moscow. Alibaba is expanding overseas aggressively using AliExpress, in the process taking on global rivals such as Amazon and eBay. (Photo/Xinhua)

A Russian consumer shows her passport to identify herself at a goods collection center of AliExpress in Moscow. Alibaba is expanding overseas aggressively using AliExpress, in the process taking on global rivals such as Amazon and eBay. (Photo/Xinhua)

With growth slowing in China, the internet behemoth unleashes AliExpress for global e-commerce dominance, applying lessons from Tmall

For Carine Danblier, 51, a Belgian housewife based in Brussels, shopping on Chinese online marketplace AliExpress has proved to be nothing short of a treasure hunt.

Every week, she snaps up cooking accessories, shoes and electronic gadgets directly from China via AliExpress, a subsidiary of Alibaba Group Holding. A few taps on her device keypad, followed by a few days in wait-that's all it takes for the tamper-proof parcels to materialize at her doorstep.

So impressed was Danblier with AliExpress that she created a Facebook page just to share images of the goodies as well as information on online deals. Two years on, the page has 100,000 followers.

Alibaba has also become famous in Europe for its Singles Day shopping extravaganza on Nov 11, which created a buzz on online social media. The shopping fest has made Alibaba the world's top e-commerce marketplace by transaction value. It reported a gross merchandise volume of 5 billion in fiscal year 2016. This is higher than 2 billion in revenues netted by Walmart Inc in the same period.

Alibaba is expanding overseas aggressively using AliExpress, in the process taking on global rivals such as Amazon and eBay.

Founded in 2010, AliExpress is the equivalent of Alibaba's business-to-customer site Tmall, but targets only overseas customers. It has attracted more than 100 million international buyers as of April, said Dai Shan, president of Alibaba's business-to-business unit.

Following a decade of explosive growth, China's online retail market is expected to slow down to a 15 percent compounded annual growth rate, consultancy Mintel has projected. This means internet behemoths like Alibaba need to foray abroad for new sources of income.

AliExpress is gaining traction among users such as Danblier by reshaping their shopping behavior and building a personal rapport, said Zuniga Perez Pell, an employee at AliExpress' Spanish operations.

"Wedding is perhaps the most important occasion for women. In the past, Spanish women never bought wedding dresses online. But now, taking a look at AliExpress before buying is becoming a ritual," he said.

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