Alibaba pledges to bring US$200 billion of goods into China over next five years
- Alibaba chief executive Daniel Zhang announces initiative at conference in Shanghai
Alibaba Group Holding said it will help bring US$200 billion worth of products from more than 120 countries into China over the next five years to help meet the rising demand of Chinese consumers for high-quality international goods.
Between 2019 and 2023, Alibaba will help import from businesses of all sizes in countries such as Germany, Japan, Australia, US, and South Korea, the Hangzhou, China-based company said in a statement.
“We not only want to achieve sales innovation behind the US$200 billion, but also want to achieve the innovation of the digital supply chain,” Daniel Zhang Yong, Alibaba’s chief executive, said in a speech on Tuesday at the Global Import Leadership Summit in Shanghai. “Through the combination of cooperating with partners in the digital supply chain and the consumer market, we will realise the dream of from grass to glass, from farm to table, and the dream of digital and innovative imports.”
Alibaba’s pledge for step up imports comes a day after China’s president Xi Jinping made fresh promises to open the world’s second-biggest economy to the outside world, including lowering import tariffs and broadening market access, and voiced support for economic globalisation.
US President Donald Trump has blamed China for “unfair trade policies”, which he claims to have caused a huge trade deficit for the US. On Monday, Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma, an outspoken critic of the trade war, again slammed the conflict as the “most stupid thing in the world.”
“Trade is to communicate … nobody can stop free trade,” he told a business forum held on the sidelines of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
As part of its commitment to boost imports into China, Alibaba on Tuesday announced a strategic partnership with privately held Hong Kong trading group Fung Retailing to bring more international lifestyle brands in the world’s second largest economy.
Fung Retailing, which has an international network of more than 3,000 stores, and Alibaba said in a statement on Tuesday that they will join forces in global brand recruitment as well as in merchandising, marketing and omnichannel distribution services to meet the needs of Chinese consumers. Their collaboration could potentially expand to other regions, riding on Alibaba’s various retail platforms.
“We believe this partnership represents the beginning of a new chapter for New Retail,” Zhang said in the statement.
Alibaba’s New Retail strategy seeks to integrate the online and offline shopping experiences for consumers across a number of products and services. This approach reflected the increased competition Alibaba faces on multiple fronts in China, where its ecosystem of services rival those of Tencent Holdings.
Alibaba will hold its annual Singles’ Day shopping festival on November 11 and expects to achieve a record 1 billion orders in 24 hours. This year is the 10th edition of the retail promotion, which has grown to become the biggest online shopping event in the world and in recent years has included traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers as well as more merchants and consumers outside China.
The company will have 1 million square metres of bonded warehousing space, equivalent to about 140 soccer fields, through the Cainiao logistics network for the event this year, according to Alvin Liu, general manager of Tmall Import and Export. A total of six procurement centres will be set up in regions including Europe, North America, Japan and South Korea, he said on Tuesday in Shanghai.
This year, Alibaba’s Southeast Asian subsidiary Lazada Group will jointly hold for the first time Singles’ Day promotions across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Alibaba said in September that it plans to invest 100 billion yuan (US$15 billion) to strengthen its global logistics network over the next five years after becoming the controlling stakeholder in its affiliate logistics arm Cainiao Network. This month, Rwanda become the first African nation to join the Alibaba-led Electronic World Trade Platform, following similar initiatives in Southeast Asia.
Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.