Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) today announced details of the expansion of its presence in the European market, an important step in its globalisation strategy to serve as a “gateway to China” for international brands and businesses of all sizes.
In addition to collaborating with international companies, Alibaba is partnering with individual countries to facilitate imports directly into China.
Alibaba Group's London office will expand to serve as the company's European hub, and the company is also opening a country office in Milan, Italy. Effective immediately, Amee Chande will serve as the managing director of Alibaba Group in the U.K. and Rodrigo Cipriani Foresio will serve as the managing director of Alibaba Group in Italy. The establishment of these offices and appointment of these two senior business leaders signifies an important step toward Alibaba's global ambitions. In the coming months, Alibaba will further expand its physical presence in Europe to include offices in France and Germany.
The country offices will serve local brands, retailers and government partners who seek to access the large and growing Chinese consumer class looking for high-quality international products and services. A "one-stop shop" for local business, Alibaba country offices will help identify the most suitable local products for the Chinese market, help merchants sell on Alibaba's platforms, assist with outbound and inbound logistics, and facilitate online payments for Chinese consumers and offline payments for Chinese tourists.
"Chinese consumers are looking for quality, authentic international products and global brands. Europe is a logical first step with its diverse range of unique brands and high-quality products" said Michael Evans, president of Alibaba Group. "We are putting in place a strong team of experts in our Italian and U.K. offices that will help European brands, retailers and government partners understand the opportunities in China and work directly with them in local language, in-country, to get their products into the hands of Chinese consumers."
Amee Chande brings a wealth of experience in the global retail sector to this new role. She previously was the Managing Director of NutriCentre, a health and wellness subsidiary of Tesco, was managing director of Staples UK, and has also held senior roles at Walmart and McKinsey.
Rodrigo Cipriani Foresio has been promoting the best of Italy - products, media, culture and companies - to the world for the past 25 years through a number of roles in both the public and private sectors including President of Cinecitta Istituto Luce srl, President and CEO of Buonitalia, numerous senior positions at Mediaset, and Advisor to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage.
Both Chande and Cipriani Foresio will report directly to Michael Evans.