Alibaba Targets Amazon through AliExpress Expansion

Alibaba is making a major change to its fast-growing AliExpress marketplace to attract merchant sellers from nations besides China and make it truly global, a direct challenge to Amazon’s international marketplace, according to the Financial Times.

Initially, small-to-medium merchants from Russia, Turkey, Italy and Spain can register and sell their products to shoppers from 150-plus countries in the AliExpress in network, Alibaba executives told FT. The company plans to expand its “local to global” program as those countries become established in AliExpress.

“From the very first day that Alibaba was founded we had a ‘global dream’,” Trudy Dai, president of Alibaba’s wholesale marketplaces division, told FT. She was part of Alibaba’s first executive team in 1999 along with founder Jack Ma.

An analyst told FT the move is meant to offset stagnating growth of sales in China. AliExpress was a major contributor to Alibaba’s strong international ecommerce growth of 94% in 2018.

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MCM Musings: If anyone can seriously challenge the dominance of Amazon’s international marketplace, it’s Jack Ma and Alibaba. The company’s vast resources, rapid growth, reach and expansion into related sectors like logistics position it as a true competitive threat to the ecommerce behemoth. Witness Amazon’s recent decision to curtail its Chinese marketplace operations, ceding the hundreds of millions of buyers to Alibaba and main rival Expect many more markets to be added to AliExpress’s “local to global” program before the year is out.

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