HANGZHOU: Tmall Global, the Alibaba-owned online marketplace that specialises in cross-border e-commerce, has announced plans to open six new procurement centres around the world in a move expected to benefit overseas brands.

“This year, we are committed to offer our overseas merchants more personalised and customised solutions so they can receive faster and more direct assistance from the platform, which enable them to accelerate their growth in China,” said Tmall president Jet Jing at the launch of the company’s international expansion plans.

Speaking at the Tmall Global 2018 Global Partners Summit, he revealed that the new centres will be located in Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong as well as regions of North America, Europe and Oceania.

According to Alizila, an Alibaba-owned news portal, he went on to highlight Tmall’s insight capabilities, which would help overseas vendors to better understand the behaviour and preferences of Chinese consumers.

Alvin Liu, general manager of Tmall Global, also explained that the company, which already offers more than 18,000 brands from 74 countries and territories, aimed to attract even more overseas brands into China.

“Our goal is to give Chinese consumers the best shopping experience. Therefore, we will only select the best quality and most popular brands to bring to China,” Liu said.

“We must discover new categories and find new products so Chinese consumers can find items that are best-suited to their needs,” he added.

Tmall Global plans to increase its consumer base to 200 million shoppers within three years, Liu said, and aims to do so by improving the traceability of products sold on the platform.

It would mean, for example, that blockchain technology would enable consumers to track their orders through every stage of delivery, starting with the factory in the country of origin.

Another aspect of the global expansion plan involves helping smaller overseas brands to introduce their products more quickly via increased usage of bonded warehouses to reduce costs as well as improved information and customer feedback.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, Swedish fashion retailer H&M said that it has opened an online store on Tmall with the expectation that the partnership would help it with consumer insights and give it greater reach in lower tier cities.

“Something we’re really focusing on is trying to understand where consumer behaviour, and especially here, the fashion sense of the consumer is heading,” said Magnus Olsson, H&M’s country manager, in an interview with Reuters.

“There are also other advantages with the Tmall tie-up and that is that in most of the tier 3 or 4 cities where we’re not present, H&M might not be as well known, but Tmall is, so they find H&M through that platform until we come with a store.”

Sourced from Alizila, Reuters; additional content by WARC staff