Chinese e-retail giant Alibaba has released figures claiming its overseas shopping division, Tmall International, saw a ten-fold sales increase between February and November 2014, dubbing it “the year of globalisation”. The division has reportedly attracted 5,500 overseas brands since its February launch, according to a statement made on Monday.
The company also revealed that it has agreements with five of China’s biggest cities in pilot programs aiming to improve trade. No further details on the agreements made with Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Zhengzhou and Ningbo were released, though Alibaba did note the programs were designed to to expand e-retail.
Tmall is currently working with suppliers across 25 countries and regions, as well as postal systems in Singapore and Australia. The company claims there are more than 100 international brands awaiting approval on the Tmall platform.
Thirty Tmall stores on the international division reportedly earned over 10 million yuan (US$1.6million) by November, with a further 30 high-end brands tipped to enter the market by the Spring Festival shopping season in mid-February.
Alibaba said the Tmall International Service levels the playing field for Chinese consumers, who until recently had incurred high charges when buying foreign products.
“Following the emergence of Tmall International, Chinese consumers need not pay extra fees to enjoy the same quality of goods enjoyed overseas.”
Alibaba also pointed out that Tmall had facilitated the expansion of Costco, America’s second biggest retailer, claiming that their international division had saved Costco “several years” of market-entry expenses. It also revealed that Costco would be dramatically increasing both the number and quantity of products in 2015.
Alibaba has been an aggressive international force in 2014, holding the world’s largest ever IPO in September 2014. The company went on to record over US$9.3 billion in sales over 24 hours during the Chinese ‘Singles Day’ event in November. Alibaba’s profit-share affiliate, Ant Financial Services Group, also oversaw the foreign expansion of Alibaba’s payment system Alipay this year.
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Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)