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ALIBABA Vs AMAZON: Let the Global Tat Bazaar war begin

Yep Napoleon, we should’ve let China sleep

By Kat Hall, 18 May 2015

Chinese Amazon equivalent Alibaba has unveiled plans to become the dominant international tat bazaar, aiming to shift more Chinese wares to the international market while simultaneously encouraging foreign companies to flog more goods to Chinese punters.

The company has launched its B2B import biz, 1688.com, aimed at wooing foreign businesses seeking to flog wholesale goods to China.

The company already has 350 million active Chinese buyers on its marketplace, but there is a huge appetite for foreign goods among the country's rapidly-growing middle class.

James Dong, assistant president of the B2B Biz Group, said: "We're trying to make Alibaba the largest reseller of imported goods in China."

"All Chinese consumers are looking for good quality imports," he said. "Interestingly, Chinese consumers are even buying tea from the UK."

By creating a platform for Chinese businesses to buy wholesale from foreign suppliers, the company hopes to dramatically scale up its import business.

According to company chairman Jack Ma, Alibaba and Walmart are currently the two biggest companies in the world in terms of sheer volume of goods handled.

Last year, the company handled $394bn (£255bn) in transactions. However, its long-term ambition is to increase that to one trillion dollars.

Globalisation is expected to play a big part in achieving that goal. Last year, international sales represented just 9 per cent of the company's first-quarter revenue of $2.6bn (£1.8bn).

Joe Yan, director of international B2C at the company's consumer export division AliExpress, said the US, Brazil and Russia were the company's main export markets.

He added the division tripled its growth in Europe last year. However, significant expansion into the US and UK markets could be tricky, with many Chinese sellers already opting to tout their goods on more well-known brands such as Amazon and eBay.

Yan said: "We plan to invest more in those countries to get more traffic and make customers know them more and build brand awareness."

He added the company has some advantages over Amazon. "Our biggest advantage is abundance, with 100 million products. We have more options for customers, who can buy our products cheaper and at high quality." ®

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing