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Alibaba from China is attracting European and American small businesses as it expands internationally

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Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, is expanding its global reach by offering new services to attract small businesses in the U.S. and Europe. One of these services is “Alibaba Guaranteed,” a platform on Alibaba.com that provides certainty on delivery, payments, and dispute settlement for buyers. This move aims to address the complexity of international trade for small businesses purchasing from cross-border e-commerce platforms. Alibaba.com has seen significant growth in its international business, selling directly to consumers overseas through sites like AliExpress.

Kuo Zhang, president of Alibaba.com, highlighted the increasing trend of supply chain fragmentation and the need for local businesses to buy globally to protect profit margins. The online platform mainly connects small businesses in Europe, the U.S., and other parts of the world with suppliers based in China. While individual products or bulk purchases are available, suppliers generally prefer to do business with companies. The platform has seen a significant increase in the number of buyers over the past five years, with online gross merchandise value reaching around $50 billion.

One of the popular product categories on Alibaba.com includes machines for custom printing T-shirts or laser cutting. The demand for such equipment has surged in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, as businesses seek to diversify their supply chains. Additionally, the growth of the new energy vehicle industry has led to an increased demand for car parts, which Alibaba.com also offers. Sports products have also been a hit with customers in Europe, according to Zhang.

In a bid to further expand its presence in Europe, Alibaba.com invested in German business-to-business company Visable and its European marketplace europages. This partnership allows Alibaba.com to work closely with EU-based suppliers and support the region in accelerating its digitalization efforts. Zhang emphasized the importance of trade activity within the EU, which surpasses the bloc’s trade with other countries. Moving forward, Alibaba.com plans to incorporate artificial intelligence tools into its platform to enhance user experience and streamline processes for merchants. These tools will enable merchants to generate product descriptions with search keywords and provide customer service support during off-hours.

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