Alibaba wants to start competing directly with Amazon and other platforms in Europe and is therefore expanding Tmall, its marketplace for international brands, to the continent.
Local platform with local brands
At a technology conference in Paris, Alibaba chairman Michael Evans said that a pilot project is currently already running in Spain, but it will expand further across Europe. The move is an important strategic step for the Chinese e-commerce company, as its focus in Europe has so far been on AliExpress.
Unlike AliExpress, shoppers tend to find major international brands at Tmall – from Gucci over Rituals to even Ikea. In that sense, the platform is much more comparable to marketplaces such as Amazon, which are genuine online department stores for consumers. In Europe, too, Tmall plans to focus on selling local brands to local shoppers.
Alibaba is thus confronting established platforms. “Europe is a top priority“, Evans said according to Reuters – whether for international trade, cloud activities or logistics. In March, Alibaba announced that the company would split into six units, giving each more autonomy and faster decision-making powers. The decision was a response to the e-commerce giant’s plummeting stock market value and slowing growth, as well as ongoing pressure from the Chinese government.