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David Lloyd of Alibaba on supporting retailers launch in China:’we make it easy to make businesses anywhere’

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“[Alibaba’s] mission is to make it easy to make businesses anywhere. What we’ve been doing for a couple of months is helped businesses in the UK and Nordics launch in China,” said David Lloyd managing director, UK and Nordics of Alibaba.

Presenting his keynote address at InternetRetailing Conference 2018 (IRC) yesterday, Lloyd argued that China presents a good expansion opportunity for omnichannel retailers as the market remains a leader in the field. As he said: “China holds 40% of the ecommerce market, bigger than the UK and the US combined.”

In a short space of time, the market has seen significant growth as it focused on the vital point of business growth-customer experience in stores. “[Retailers] in China are rethinking retail, the role of stores, what stores themselves can do. But, also what role stores can play in the market that has grown up its first 18 years just online,” he said.

“[Alibaba has] around 630m monthly users just on mobile. We work with 140,000 growing businesses. We’re probably known for Singles Day, which we call 11.11 in the UK. When we launched Singles Day in 2009, we had 27 brands participating and $7m of transactions in a day. Last year, we transacted $25bn in a day, and we had 140,000 brands participating during the event.”

Lloyd pointed to Alibaba not just helping retailers do business but also focusing on creating experiences around shopping that inform, entertain and engage. “We know that if you’re a European company trying to enter China for the first time, and trying to grow your business overseas, it is not about building sales on the platform, but you also need to build a brand.” He pointed to two well-known Chinese retailers, that lead these examples shopping journeys: “Our ecommerce platforms Tmall and Taobao are visited on average seven times a day per shopper, who spends 20 minutes with us. It’s not about shopping – it’s about experiencing, watching, researching, watching videos and trying to engage with brands. We’ve deloped a ’core-commerce’ business that is very engaging.”

Pan-European retailers in China

Here are three retailers that Alibaba helped to enter China in the last three month.


“Boots had chosen to launch exclusively on the Tmall in China because there is a huge demand in cosmetics and beauty. We saw plenty of searches on [Alibaba] for Boots products. The retailer itself also seeing thousands of Chinese visitors to their stores buying these products and taking home with them to China.”


COS is the recent member of H&M group to start working with us. H&M has been present in China for more than ten years. The way that [the retailer] was growing the business is through the website. But, they quickly realised that Chinese shoppers don’t go to retailers’ stores to shop from them, they prefer to shop from a marketplace. H&M is the first marketplace business globally to start working with us online and offline. We’re looking now to launch the entire group on Alibaba.

Jo Malone

“Jo Malone has become incredibly popular in China, they started to learn about Chinese consumers and what they shoppers want from their products.

They soon realised that 26 fragrances they were offering are being popular but not necessarily fully in line with what Chinese consumers want. They started offering consumers what they wanted to blend their own frangrance and offer 300 different combinations. They’ve learned what consumers want and they’ve instantly adapted. 

“What I want to bring out of these examples is two things: One, China is truly mobile-first market. Last year, we took $25m transactions on the single’s day and 90% of them were conducted on mobile. Two, every one of these brands is presenting themselves the way that they like, we help retailers to present their own imagery on their platform.”  

Image: Fotolia

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