Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma this week was the guest of honour at an opening ceremony for a new office in Melbourne that will serve as headquarters for Alibaba’s operations in Australia and New Zealand.
The Chinese e-commerce giant is rapidly expanding its business in Australia and the Melbourne office, led by Maggie Zhou - a 17-year veteran of the company who most recently served as deputy
general manager of cross-border B2C shopping site Tmall Global - is currently supporting 1,300 Australian and 400 New Zealand businesses selling on Tmall and Tmall Global. The new office has also
been tasked with bringing new merchants onto the platforms.
In a statement, Mr Ma said: “With a local office and expert team, Alibaba Group will help Australian and New Zealand businesses share their world-famous products with billions of customers around the world."
Alibaba wants to deliver more than just e-commerce services to Australian businesses and consumers. The goal is to “to build the entire operating infrastructure needed to enable local businesses to expand globally,” Ms Zhou said, including cloud computing, online payments and logistics.
Chain of storefronts
In a related development, Alibaba has expanded its partnership with Australia Post, signing a memorandum of understanding which will bring the state-run postal and logistics company to Southeast Asia’s e-commerce market through the Alibaba-owned Lazada Group.
Pilot online stores are planned for Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia for later this year, while Australia Post also plans to open storefronts on Lazada’s other sites in Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines beyond this year.
According to the MoU, Australia Post will also work with Alibaba’s logistics arm, Cainiao Network, to improve data integration and develop a co-branded, cross-border delivery service for Australian outbound parcels destined for China.
Accessing the Chinese market
In a statement, Australia Post Chairman John Stanhope said, “Our enduring relationship with Alibaba will allow local Australian businesses to access the biggest online marketplace in the world.”
The two companies first launched a partnership agreement when Australia Post set up a storefront on Tmall Global which connected Australian SMEs with Chinese consumers. Australia Post then provided the logistics necessary to get the orders to China.
Nol van Fenema