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Alibaba eyes GCC to expand business

Alibaba eyes GCC to expand business

The Chinese e-commerce giant aims to grow its business-to-business presence in the region

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is looking to grow its business-to-business (B2B) footprint in the Middle East, according to a senior official.

The company’s B2B business mainly focuses on SMEs, enabling them to sell and buy on the Alibaba platform.

“There is huge opportunity here in the Middle East because this region has traditionally been a trading hub, linking the West and East,” said Michael Mang, head of Business development and Marketing for APAC and MENA at Alibaba.com.

That has continued and nowadays e-commerce plays a very big role in the trading of goods and services in the region.

Alibaba is now a known name worldwide and the platform provides international exposure to traders from across the world, said Mang.

“As an internet platform, we are quite borderless. Companies can get on the internet from anywhere, become a member and can source products from anywhere in the world. There would be no limitations or constraints in terms of geographical locations.”

The company’s focus is on SMEs and it has been working with different entities in the region, such as the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Our aim to is to introduce e-commerce to educate the SMEs here and provide customer service to them if they have any difficulties to tap into our platform,” he explained.

Alibaba provides local partners, training, workshops and consultation services to help smaller companies.

According to Mang, the company is also in talks to partner with local B2C e-commerce players to reach out to a wider audience.

“We have been in discussion with them, but nothing is finalised yet. We can see synergies with them and hence we are actively seeking collaboration and partnership. We are working on it.”
Looking ahead Mang is confident about the growth that the region will see.

“Dubai has very good infrastructure and very favourable trading policies that will help e-commerce to grow here among the SMEs and larger trading companies,” he said.

“And with events such as Expo 2020 in Dubai and the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar coming up, we see that there is a huge opportunity in terms of trade for lots of different products.”

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