Ma’s Alibaba Group official launched Tmall World today, which seeks to connect the 100 million Chinese people who live abroad to the 1.2 billion products sold through the Taobao app and the company’s online platforms.
Chinese users used to Tmall and the other Alibaba marketplaces will be able to keep using the services they’re accustomed to, but overseas.
The markets getting priority under the program are Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia where firms will hold a “Tmall 6.18 Midyear Mega Sale.” The three-day event runs from June 18 to 20 and will offer discounts totaling 10 billion renminbi, or $1.5 billion at current exchange.
As part of the program, Alibaba bought a majority stake in Lazada Group, an e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia, which recently launched Taobao Collection in Singapore and Malaysia to cater to people there who don’t speak Chinese.
The Hangzhou, China-based Alibaba will power the back end of the initiative, providing logistics, payment and other support for each market.
Although Alibaba shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the company has offices around the world, its center of power is in China. But if the company is going to realize the dreams of the ultra-ambitious Ma, it’s going to have to ultimately move abroad in a big way.
At an investment meeting last week, Ma said the company wants to serve two billion shoppers by 2036.
Along the way, the company seeks to create 100 million jobs and support 10 million businesses.
“Today, Alibaba [gross merchandise value] is ranking as the 22nd-[largest] economy of the world,” Ma said last week. “We are just behind Argentina. When we cross $1 trillion we are sort of ranking 17 or 16.”
But Ma wants much more.
“In year 2036 if we can make a 2 billion, 100 million, and 10 million, we will be ranking the [fifth-largest] economy of the world,” he said. “What does number five mean? Number one — I don’t know [if it will be] China or the U.S. [The ranking would be] the U.S., China, Europe, Japan and us. People say this is too big. It costs nothing to imagine right? If you even do not dare to envision it or think about it.”
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