The US-China trade war may continue to linger on for some time to come, but Alibaba isn’t becoming party to that. The Chinese ecommerce giant, which is planning a second public markets listing, has now announced opening up of its platform for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the US.
This will now essentially allow SMEs in the US to access the company’s e-commerce market and sell their products globally. Before this move, SMBs in the US could only buy goods through Alibaba’s platform, while most suppliers from China could sell products on the through Alibaba’s sites. Surely, getting access to the world’s biggest global buyer-seller platform will bring in boons for the US economy.
To support the onboarding of US suppliers, the company is introducing some new features on its platform. These features, such as digital-marketing tools, customer, communications tools, online payment facilities will be available starting July 25. Alibaba will also introduce a Customer Success team in the US to support SMBs joining the platform.
Alibaba is one of the biggest online commerce companies in the world. It operates through three sites – Taobao, Tmall and Alibaba.com. The company’s original business Alibaba.com serves over 10 million active customers from over 190 countries and regions. Alibaba dominates over 80% of China’s online shopping market, according to a WSJ report.
By opening its platform to SMBs in the US, Alibaba seeks to expand its presence in the B2B (business-to-business) market. According to a report by the US International Trade Commission, global expenditures on B2B e-commerce reached $23.9 trillion in 2016, with an annual growth rate of 8.9%.
In June, Alibaba launched an English website for its Tmall Global marketplace. Tmall is a platform for Chinese and international businesses to sell goods to consumers in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
Unlike Amazon, which has its inventory and also lets merchants sell their product through its platform, Alibaba doesn’t have its inventory. Thus, by opening its platform to local SMBs in the US, it attempts to become a preferred marketplace for these businesses. The company believes that this move will give it an upper hand over its rivals.
According to a report by Alizila, Alibaba is launching a national tour of educational and networking events, called Build Ups, to help SMBs use the platform. The company held the first event in Brooklyn on Tuesday, while it plans to hold events in Los Angeles and Chicago in the next few weeks.
“With 10 million active business buyers in over 190 countries and regions, we are reshaping B2B commerce by providing the tools and services needed for U.S. SMB companies to compete and succeed in today’s global marketplace,” John Caplan, head of North America B2B at Alibaba Group, told Alizila.