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Alibaba poised for global expansion

News, 15 October 2015

HANGZHOU: Alibaba will put globalisation at the core of its strategy over the next decade, with the Chinese ecommerce giant unveiling plans to open offices in three European countries, with further expansion to come in other markets.

Speaking at a press conference to highlight the company's plans for Single's Day, China's biggest shopping day that takes place on November 11, Alibaba's CEO, Daniel Zhang, said the company aims to double its global customer base to two billion people.

He said this year's Nov 11 will be the first truly "global shopping festival" with more than 5,000 overseas brands from 25 countries participating to help meet Chinese demand for high-quality imported goods, China Daily reported.

"We will for the first time make Beijing the commander and war room of the upcoming Nov 11 festival because, as the capital city of China, we think Beijing will be a good start for us to begin our journey of globalisation," he said.

That journey includes an ambition to establish more than 39 "country pavilions" on Alibaba's online platforms in time for the Nov 11 shopping event with brands represented from the US, UK, France, Australia and many other countries.

Further, Alibaba will open offices in France, Italy and Germany within the next few months and continue to seek to expand its presence in Asia and the Americas.

Michael Evans, who recently took over as Alibaba president, estimated that more than 350m Chinese consumers are active shoppers on its online platforms and hoped that would encourage more international brands to get involved.

"By 2020, China is expected to be the world's largest ecommerce market for imported goods," he said. "That represents a huge opportunity for businesses of all sizes anywhere in the world."

Last year, the company secured $9.3bn in sales during the 24-hour shopping spree of Single's Day, but recently has had to deal with slowing economic growth in China and saturation in its core urban markets.

Data sourced from China Daily, South China Morning Post; additional content by Warc staff