In an effort to shore up U.S. investment in Alibaba, and diversify revenues beyond the eCommerce giant’s native China, chairman and founder Jack Ma will journey to New York and Chicago, Bloomberg reported Monday (June 8).
Bloomberg reported that Ma is drumming up investment outside of China, where economic growth is at its ebb in the past 25 years, growing to be sure, but not at high single and low double digit blistering rate seen in past years. In response, the Alibaba executive is intent on leveraging the purchasing power of the more than 550 million Internet users in China to let them buy goods and service across the globe. Ma has set a goal that his company should strive to have as much as half of its revenue come from beyond China’s borders, up from the relatively tame 4 percent at present.
Bloomberg’s article presaged Ma’s arrival in New York City Monday, and stated that a dinner had been planned “with select global brand” leaders, while a Tuesday lunch was scheduled at the Waldorf-Astoria, also in New York, with Economic Club members.
The following day Ma will travel to Chicago, meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and also attending a town hall meeting with several hundred business owners alongside American Express CEO Ken Chenault.
Ma’s U.S. visit comes at a time when the company has debuted some U.S. product sales, notably selling fruit that is grown in and shipped from Washington state, a relationship that takes root from the Alibaba TMall.com platform. On the home front (ie China), Bloomberg noted that Alibaba is going up against companies including Amazon and Tencent Holdings to bring Western goods into the country.
In recent years the Chinese appetite for cross-border goods, bought over the Web, has been on the rise. Bloomberg noted Monday that this sales category grew from $2 billion five years ago to more than $20 billion last year. Narrowing a bit by geography, the U.S. captures sales for clothing and baby products, according to research firm EMarketer, which in turn projects that China’s eCommerce market, which two years ago displaced the U.S. as the world’s largest eCommerce market two, will be twice the size of the U.S. by 2020.
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