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Alibaba's Tmall marketplace launches English language website

Chinese e-tail titan Alibaba has launched an English language version website for its Tmall Global marketplace.

In a drive to encourage more international brands onto the platform, the new portal has been built to educate brands about Tmall’s proposition and what it takes to sell goods to the Chinese market.

Alibaba said it hopes to streamline the onboarding process for international brands looking to broaden their horizons by selling into Asia. The new site also provides details about how to apply to open a flagship ‘store’ on the site.

Yi Qian, deputy general manager of Tmall Global, commented: “Tmall Global’s mission is to connect high-quality international brands across the globe with Chinese consumers.

“We believe the launch of this English language website will expedite the process for brands and merchants to introduce their products to Chinese consumers.”

Alibaba’s business development teams have, for some time, been tasked with drumming up interest from international brands and identifying suitable companies that would suit the Chinese market. With the new site, merchants themselves can pitch their proposition directly to Tmall Global.

Interested applicants for the Tmall marketplace can answer an online questionnaire and describe their business case, with successful parties contacted within 72 hours to discuss how to get started. This process previously took several months, according to Alibaba.

“In the past, our business-development team often had to meet potential merchants at trade shows or through personal introductions,” Yi remarked.

“With the website, merchants can contact us directly and the request will go to one of our team members, who are standing by to answer their questions.”

There are also plans for Spanish, Japanese and Korean websites in due course as Alibaba casts its net globally.

Tmall Global already provides consumers with imported products from 77 countries and regions. In 2018, the marketplace unveiled an initiative called Tmall Overseas Fulfillment (TOF), which allows brands to place their products at a TOF warehouse for sale on the platform.

The additional service enables international brands to assess the market before making a full-fledged entry into China. Brands using TOF gain access to various marketing and customer insight tools to help boost their chances of success when selling in a new territory.

UK brands already selling on Tmall include Boots, Sainsbury’s and Whittard of Chelsea.

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