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Alibaba's Ma, visiting New York, says not in America to compete

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 11:23
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Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba Group Holding Ltd does not want to fight for US market share but instead hopes to help small US businesses sell more goods in China, Executive Chairman Jack Ma said.

[NEW YORK] Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba Group Holding Ltd does not want to fight for US market share but instead hopes to help small US businesses sell more goods in China, Executive Chairman Jack Ma said.

Mr Ma is visiting the United States this week to explain Alibaba's global strategy and to "help dispel misconceptions"about the company, spokesman Greg Jenkins said in an email. "We're not coming here to compete," Mr Ma told the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday.

The vast bulk of Alibaba's revenue comes from its dominant domestic online marketplaces, but the company has been investing aggressively in a range of sectors abroad.

Still, it has taken what amounts to a conservative approach to expanding in the United States, contrary to industry speculation that it may be plotting a direct assault on US soil after its record-breaking US$25 billion IPO in September.

Mr Ma said he is regularly asked when Alibaba will "invade"America and do battle with Amazon.com Inc and Ebay Inc. Last year, the company debuted a small direct-to-consumer US portal, 11Main.com, which is a collection of Internet storefronts for smaller businesses. "The opportunity and the strategy for us is helping small business in America go to China, sell their products to China," Mr Ma said.

The future for Alibaba is in building out its e-commerce infrastructure beyond China's borders, he said.

In the first three months of the year, Alibaba's revenue from China commerce grew 39 per cent to US$2.2 billion. International commerce grew 27 per cent to US$264 million and only accounted for 9 per cent of revenue, compared with 11 per cent in the same period a year earlier.

Alibaba says some of its larger overseas markets include Brazil and Russia. The company and its affiliates are also making overtures in India.

REUTERS