Tmall pointed to two initiatives – the Centralized Import Procurement (CIP) and Tmall Overseas Fulfillment (TOF), which will help international brands accelerate their entries into the country and capitalise on the demand for high-quality products.
“These new initiatives on Tmall Global, supported by the entire Alibaba ecosystem and benefiting both current and future partners, are needed enhancements as we strive to meet the rising demand of Chinese consumers for high-quality international products,” said Alvin Liu, general manager of Tmall Import-Export, at the Tmall Global Annual Merchant Summit.
Last year at the China International Import Expo, Alibaba pledged to bring in US$200 billion worth of international goods into China for the next five years through its platforms.
Alibaba will have six procurement centres in different parts of the world that will allow the new program to source out imported goods for all its online and offline retail stores. This includes the grocery chain Hema; Tmall Supermarket and Intime Department Store. The e-commerce giant said the program is a “quick and low-risk way for international brands to enter China allowing them to reach the nearly 700 million active users on Alibaba platforms.”
While the Tmall Overseas Fulfillment (TOF) is a consignment solution that will have various brands to place a small batch of products at one of the centres, which then will be sold on the Tmall Global platform. Currently there are TOF centres in Japan, South Korea and the US, with plans to expand into Europe later in 2019.
To support the new initiatives of the e-commerce giant, its smart logistics network, Cainiao, will continue to expand its warehouses in China. The company targets to triple its total size to three million square meters in three years.
“Over the years, Tmall Global has added a full suite of innovative and value-added services to help overseas brands succeed in the China market, including plugging them in to the entire Alibaba economy. The consumer insight from our ecosystem provides Tmall Global partners a complete view of their customers’ engagements even if they do not have operations in China. These market entry and in-market expansion programs are our key differentiators and have created unique benefits for international brands,” said Liu.
Tmall Global data shows China’s demands for imported goods is gaining strong traction across age groups, regions and categories. Those born after 2000, or “Generation Z,” is the fastest-growing consumer group on the platform. The platform is attracting more shoppers in less developed regions, and Tmall Global has successfully propelled the growth of three categories: anti-hair loss products, beauty-from-within products such as collagen drinks and trendy footwear in 2018.