“We are going to consolidate and expand our current market, particularly by enhancing reputation, optimizing user experience and increasing our market share in first-tier cities,” a statement on Alibaba’s Alizila quoted Zhang as saying at the company’s Hangzhou headquarters.
Zhang outlined a three-prong expansion strategy, saying that in addition to its big city expansions, Alibaba will continue to promote e-commerce among rural residents and globally on its e-commerce sites, which include its namesake Alibaba.com, AliExpress, Taobao and Tmall Global, among others.
“Global import, rural e-commerce, and top-tier cities are the three key battlefields for Alibaba in 2016,” he said.
Last year, Alibaba’s goal was to take its mostly Chinese operations global and the company hired former Goldman Sachs executive Michael Evans to lead the charge, grew its presence in Europe and focused on cross-border e-commerce for its annual Singles Day shopping event on 11/11.
The company will continue its efforts to grow cross-border online shopping this year, gearing the better part of its energy to Tmall Global, which lets Western brands gain greater access to selling goods online in China, and g.taobao.com, a channel within its bigger Taobao Marketplace where consumers can buy products sourced globally.
Consumers in rural China will get more of Alibaba’s attention in 2016.Beijing will serve as Alibaba’s gateway to cater to roughly 400 million people in northern China, where infrastructure is less developed and market penetration lower. The company has already built upwards of 10,000 village service centers to promote e-commerce and provides delivery services in more than 20 provinces.
“In 2016, we are going to ramp up our efforts to bring quality goods to rural buyers, and deliver local produce to urban customers, so the rural market can be connected to the whole country and even the whole world,” Zhang said.