People are often surprised when I explain Alibaba’s strategy in the U.S. Most people don’t think we have business in the U.S. because we aren’t the kind of U.S. consumer-facing brand people use every day. That’s true. Our consumers – nearly 900 million of them – are located in China.
But we do have thousands of customers here in America. Our customers are U.S. brands, retailers, and small businesses. Let me explain.
Think of Alibaba as a massive digital mall for brands and retailers. When a U.S. business decides to work with us, we give them not only the traffic but also all the tools to help them build their brands and a direct connection to the Chinese consumer. This includes fully customizable online storefronts, marketing and merchandising tools, inventory and management services, as well as translation and logistics. One of our strengths is the deep insights we have into the Chinese consumer, which can be very valuable to brands as they tailor and market their products to fit the demands of new consumers. We share it all because our success is directly tied to the success of our customers.
What makes us different than other e-commerce platforms is that we are a marketplace, not a retailer. That means we connect the businesses and the products directly to the consumer. We do not compete with the brands or small businesses operating on our platform. That’s an important reason why so many U.S. brands trust us and want to work with us in the China consumer market.
Last year, thousands of U.S. companies, including large multinationals like P&G, Nike, and Estee Lauder but also family-owned businesses like BISSELL and Emily’s Nuts, and small businesses like Supergoop and Radha Beauty sold more than $54 billion of products to Chinese consumers on our platform.
According to the U.S-China Business Council, a million jobs in the U.S. are consistently sustained by helping U.S. businesses sell to China. We are proud to be a big part of that job creation opportunity.
In fact, over the past several months, Alibaba has seen an influx of American brands starting to sell to China. I’m pleased to report that over 100 U.S. brands have launched on Alibaba’s cross-border shopping platform Tmall Global since January 2021. Tmall Global allows companies to sell to China without any operations in China. Some examples include Washington-based luxury fragrance brand Antica Farmacista, New Jersey skincare brand Nuria, and California luxury handbag brand Senreve.
Another way we create opportunities for U.S. businesses in China is through online shopping festivals. We are known for our 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, but our mid-year 6.18 Shopping Festival is also significant. In this newsletter, we explain how brands like Rothy’s, DVF, and others used this month’s festival to drive sales and consumer engagement.
We are constantly innovating to improve the online shopping experience on our platforms with technologies like 3D shopping, gamification, and livestreaming. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg at the recent National Retail Federation’s Converge Conference to discuss how brands are taking advantage of these technologies to grow their global sales. Our conversation is highlighted below.
Alibaba’s work in the U.S. is focused on doing everything we can to help U.S. brands, retailers, and SMEs succeed in the China market and to bring Chinese consumers great U.S. products. If you run or know a brand or small business you think would do well in China, please take a look at our 11.11 Tmall Global Pitch Fest. Selected brands will get hands-on coaching and accelerated onboarding so they can participate in this year’s 11.11 Festival.
Of course, our teams are always ready to talk to any brand or small business interested in learning more about the opportunity to sell to Chinese consumers. It’s a significant and important opportunity for U.S. businesses, and we are proud to be a part of their success.
Michael Evans, President and Director, Alibaba Group