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Report: Alibaba Plans to Invest $2 Billion in Turkey

Alibaba Group

Alibaba reportedly told Turkey’s president it plans to invest $2 billion in the country.

Alibaba President Michael Evans made the remarks in a meeting with Turkish Head of State Tayyip Erdogan, Reuters reported Monday (Sept. 18). It is not clear when the investment would be made.

Evans also said his company has invested $1.4 billion in Trendyol, one of Turkey’s most well-known eCommerce companies, according to the report. Among the planned investments are a data center and a logistics center in the city of Ankara and an export operation center at Istanbul Airport.

Evans in June announced plans to expand Alibaba’s Tmall eCommerce site to Europe, part of a shift in strategy for Alibaba’s international eCommerce operations.

“You will see something called Tmall, which we have in China, become Tmall in Europe, which means we will serve local brands and local consumers in the local market,” he said, adding that the “future is about building local businesses.”

Evans noted that Europe is “a top priority for all businesses that have an international component,” including international commerce, cloud and particularly logistics companies.

PYMNTS looked at Turkey’s potential for digital transformation earlier this year in a conversation with Worldline Head of Digital Goods and Services Michael Bilotta.

Turkey is a nation of 85 million consumers, half of whom are younger than 30 years old, where smartphone penetration is in the range of 80%. However, most transactions are still done in cash, even though there are several local digital payment methods.

“With so many young people owning smartphones, Turkey is primed for a digital goods and services moment,” PYMNTS wrote in April. “The caveat: It still requires digital connections to pay for those services.”

“The consumers are guiding the market to a large extent,” Bilotta told PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster. “What you see is that because it’s a young population, they’re becoming more and more sophisticated. They’re the ones that are starting to guide this. It’s our responsibility as the payment service provider to listen to what they’re saying, and then build the on-ramps.”

In January, the company teamed with Turkish FinTech Lidio to enable more digital commerce in the region.