Alibaba e-commerce platforms a key channel for European businesses to sell into China, says study

Alibaba e-commerce platforms a key channel for European businesses to sell into China, says study

The e-commerce platforms run by Alibaba Group Holding have become an important channel for European firms to sell goods overseas, according to a new study, as Chinese online shopping giants continue to invest in international expansion.

Exports from 27 European countries via Alibaba Group’s platforms totalled about €32.3 billion (US$34.6 billion) last year, a third higher than in 2019, according to a study by Italy’s SDA Bocconi School of Management. Between 2019 and 2022, companies in those countries exported €121.4 billion worth of goods to Chinese consumers via the Alibaba platforms, said the study, which was commissioned by Alibaba.

The export activity contributed a combined €57.9 billion to the gross domestic product of Germany, France, Italy and Spain over the same four years, the study estimated.

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“Alibaba helps European companies, of all sizes, sell to customers in international markets, protecting European jobs and growing the European economy,” said Eric Pelletier, Alibaba’s vice-president and head of international government relations.

Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

Alibaba is facing fierce competition both in the domestic and international market. PDD Holding, which is some 16-years younger than Alibaba, reported strong revenue growth in the latest quarter on the back of its international e-commerce platform Temu, which has expanded quickly across the world.

Europe has been an important market for Alibaba’s international business. AliExpress, a retail platform launched in 2010 that offers products for international buyers, is targeting Europe and South Korea for growth. Earlier this year, AliExpress launched a new service which will provide nine-day delivery times for European customers.

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Under the plan, AliExpress runs up to nine charter flights per week to Spain, the most among its EU markets besides Belgium, which is the logistics hub for AliExpress in Europe. It also plans to increase the number of pickup points in Spain from the current 5,000 to 7,500 by the end of March.

Sales on Alibaba’s platforms also helped support about 172,600 jobs in those four major economies last year, a number that has remained stable over the past three years, the study found. Governments also benefited from cross-border e-commerce. Germany, France, Italy and Spain garnered more than €6.6 billion worth of tax revenues last year from sales on Alibaba’s platforms alone, according to the study.

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