News & Analysis

Global trade giant Alibaba to open Australian office

- April 21, 2016 2 MIN READ

Global trade giant Alibaba is set to open an Australian office to help local brands tap into the Chinese market, the Australian Financial Review has reported today, with a company spokesperson telling the AFR that the company sees a lot of potential in the Australian market.

In last year’s December quarter, Alibaba processed US$149 billion worth of transactions, with Australia ranking as the fifth top-selling country.

“We aim to have dedicated country operations to work closely with Australian merchants and partners, and it is our plan to establish an office in Australia in late 2016 to better help local brands and merchants to access to the Chinese consumer market,” the spokesperson said.

The AFR reports that chief executive of the NSW branch of Australia-China Business Council, James Hudson is the first senior hire for the new Alibaba office, along with New-Zealand entrepreneur James O’Loghlin.

Alibaba has 407 million active buyers on its platforms and has helped many international brands sell to China without having a physical presence in the country.

Earlier this week Australian online cosmetic retailer Adore Beauty announced expansion into China through its launch into a storefront on Alibaba’s Tmall platform.  

Founder and CEO of Adore Beauty, Kate Morris said the decision to move to China and place its products on Alibaba’s platform was an easy one to make. China has eased its regulations on cosmetics, no longer requiring animal testing to be conducted on new products, aligning the market with Australian consumer ethics. 

Other Australian retailers have also signed up to sell their products on Alibaba’s Tmall, including Woolworths, Bellamy’s, Blackmores and Chemist Warehouse. These companies will use the platform to translate their products into the Chinese market and sell their goods to consumers.

In March this year the Victorian Government announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Australia Post to help provide the state’s businesses with easy access to the Chinese market through Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform.

With sales on the Tmall platform rising by 68 percent in the last financial year to exceed $170 billion, Victoria’s Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis said in a statement that the deal is a “game-changer” for Victorian businesses, particularly those in rural and regional areas.

Alibaba’s global expansion to Australia was first announced last year, where chairman of Alibaba, Jack Ma also revealed expansion plans into France, Germany, and Italy.

Australia is also on the expansion list of international social media giant Snapchat. According to AdNews, Snapchat is looking for a person to lead a Sydney-based office.

Both Snapchat and Alibaba are set to join other global giants based in Sydney, including Facebook and Twitter who have already acknowledged Australia as a viable market to tap into.

Image: Jack Ma. Source: nasdaq.com