Alibaba breaks up Benelux, Tmall learns English

Photo: Andrey Solovev /

Roland Palmer will be stepping down as CEO of Alibaba in the Benelux, and he will be the last one to have held that position: the region will be broken up, with Belgium and Luxemburg being assigned to France. Meanwhile, Tmall is still expanding with an anglophone portal.


Belgium and Luxemburg become part of France

Palmer has been managing director Benelux since 2016, as well as the head of Alibaba's payment service AliPay for the EMEA zone, and will be focusing on the latter. The former Blokker CEO will be (partially) succeeded by David Lloyd, who will become managing director of Alibaba in the Netherlands as well as the director of Alipay England and Scandinavia, according to RetailNews. Belgium and Luxembourg will be split off and become part of the French branch.


Alibaba strongly believes in AliPay, which is one of the two main payment systems in China (besides Tencent's WeChat). It therefore makes sense to allow Chinese people to pay through the familiar AliPay app in Europe as well, Palmer told RetailNews: "Millions of middle-class Chinese have more money to spend now and they enjoy doing that during their trips to Europe."


Towards 40,000 brands on Tmall

Meanwhile, Tmall is also continuing to expand: the platform, which allows brands and retailers from the West to reach Chinese consumers or expats, now also has an English version. Alibaba hopes to attract even more international brands this way. The goal is to double the current number and have 40,000 brands within the next three years. The newcomers will mostly have to be smaller and more niche-based brands: "We believe the launch of this English-language website will expedite the process for brands and merchants to introduce their products to Chinese consumers," stated deputy general manager Yi Qian stated in a press release. 


The site will show how sellers can use the platform and upload their products, and offer help with the opening of a proper webshop on Tmall. In time, Spanish and Japanese versions will also be rolled out.


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