The China-based online retailer, which was founded in the early days of the internet, started as a small online retail platform but it has become the largest retailer in the world now. The Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba was founded by Jack Ma who wanted to build a platform where small businesses as well as large companies could come together and trade.

Alibaba has over 10 million merchants working in its platform

Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma – a former English teacher from Hangzhou – wanted all companies, including big and small, from East and West, to come together in one large platform and trade. Currently, the e-commerce giant has over 440 million active users and more than 10 million merchants operating across several retail technological platforms.

The firm wants to break down the barriers that are preventing the Western brands and companies from trading successfully in the Far East currently, said Terry Von Bibra, Alibaba’s General Manager of Europe. Von Bibra added, “We want to enable businesses in the UK, from renowned brands to emerging SMEs, to have access to the Chinese market, to grow their business further.”

Over 100 UK-based brands are trading on the business-to-consumer marketplace of Alibaba – Tmall -now. Tmall is for companies that already have a presence in the country. In addition to this, over 30 UK brands have joined Tmall Global now. Tmall Global is a platform that lets foreign companies sell directly online in China. Bibra says, “The UK has become one of the largest buyer markets in Europe for our cross-border business-to-business marketplace, with UK SMEs using the platform to source from China and around the world.”

Alibaba allowing foreign companies to exploit several opportunities

The e-commerce giant has allowed companies to exploit opportunities cross border without any requirement to set up a large physical presence in its regions. Bibra says that the vast majority of interaction that companies like Whittard (British tea brand) receive on its website comes from China now. Von Bibra adds, “There is an enormous demand for such UK products in China, and Alibaba is able to play an integral role in enabling UK brands to exploit it to the full.”

He says that they are finding that retailers are seeking fast-growing foreign markets like China, where it is predicted that half the population of the country will be purchasing foreign products online by 2020. Further, the online retailer has promoted its own game on its platform via the Mobile Taobao app on Singles Day as well. The game was played by more than 70 million people.