Michael Evans, president of Alibaba Group, said the firm will bring its online store Tmall to Europe.
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PARIS — Alibaba will expand one of its key Chinese e-commerce sites to Europe, the company’s president said Thursday, marking a major step forward in the Chinese tech giant’s international push.
The announcement comes just over two months after Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce firm, announced plans to split its business into six unitsa move designed to give each unit more autonomy and faster decision-making powers.
Michael Evans, president of Alibaba, said the company will bring one of its Chinese e-commerce services, Tmall, to Europe.
“So you’re going to see something called Tmall that we have in China become Tmall in Europe, which means we’re going to serve local brands and local consumers in a local market,” Evans said at the Viva Tech conference in Paris, France.
Evans revealed that the company is currently running a pilot project in Spain that will “roll out across Europe.”
In China, Tmall is Alibaba’s website and app that focuses on selling foreign brands to Chinese consumers.
The launch of Tmall in Europe reflects a significant shift in Alibaba’s strategy in its international e-commerce operations.
While Alibaba’s international push into online shopping is not new, in Europe it has focused on a site called AliExpress. However, AliExpress has its goods shipped to Europe from China. Delivery times are often long, although products may be cheaper than competing products.
However, Evans suggests that Tmall in Europe should focus on selling local brands to local shoppers. It is not clear if this would be merged with AliExpress in any way.
One of Alibaba’s six independent companies is called Taobao Tmall Commerce Group, which focuses on its two main e-commerce products in China. However, it also has a Global Digital Commerce unit that focuses on promoting Alibaba’s e-commerce business abroad.
“Europe is the top priority for all businesses that have an international component. By that I mean especially international business businesses, cloud business and logistics,” said Evans.