Australian small and medium-sized enterprises got a taste of what it takes to sell to China this past weekend, attending workshops and livestreaming events that launched 12 brands in the Chinese market. Gathered in Melbourne for the day-and-a-half Alibaba eCommerce Expo, 5,100 attendees, including 500 brands and 108 SME exhibitors, explored opportunities provided by Alibaba and its third-party partners to export to China.
The gathering in Australia’s Victoria state brought Alibaba’s “Five Globals” strategy to the forefront, with the e-commerce giant outlining the areas where there’s a need for growth and development of crucial infrastructure if SMEs are to succeed in doing business with China. The areas include buying, selling, logistics, payment and travel services.
“Alibaba has always stood by small and medium businesses. It is in our DNA,” said Maggie Zhou, managing director of Alibaba Group, Australia and New Zealand, during her keynote address. “At Alibaba Group, we know and understand the opportunities, the struggles, and the daily challenges that confront small businesses around the world to survive and grow. We believe small is beautiful.”
Digital marketing on Alibaba platforms, though, is anything but small. Streaming videos of key opinion leaders showing off products or brands doing self-introductions to Chinese consumers reach outsized audiences and large numbers of potential buyers. The livestreaming sessions done at the Melbourne expo, for example, reached an audience of over 200,000.
Alibaba has more than 529 million mobile monthly active users and there are over 1,300 Australian brands already on Alibaba’s Tmall and Tmall Global platforms, with another 400 brands from New Zealand. In recent months, in its ongoing efforts to go global, Alibaba has held events to educate and connect with SMEs in the U.S. and Canada, looking to offer them exposure to the China market.
Alibaba is also active in Southeast Asia through its Lazada unit and offers consumers in Brazil, Russia, the U.S. and several other countries access to Chinese products through its AliExpress e-commerce platform. Companies around the world use Alibaba.com to source materials and products from China. Alibaba also reaches and provides services to customers through its Alipay affiliate and travel unit, Fliggy. And its Alipay affiliate, owned by Ant Financial, offers payment solutions to traveling Chinese in over 30 countries. Alipay works with over 250 overseas financial institutions and payment providers to enable cross-border payments. It supports 27 currencies.
Alibaba is also championing the Electronic World Trade Platform. The eWTP concept envisions the creation of digital free-trade zones where small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can easily plug into global trade via e-commerce.