Set to boost the state's position as Australia's leading tech and business hub, Alibaba Group – one of the world's largest eCommerce companies – joins a growing list of leading international technology giants choosing Melbourne as their regional headquarters.
Victoria's Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade has welcomed the arrival of Alibaba Group to Melbourne, saying it will provide substantial opportunities for Victorian producers and exporters "looking to grow exports into China's multi-billion dollar eCommerce market".
Established in 1999 in Hangzhou, China, and led by group executive chairman Jack Ma, Alibaba's primary objective was to utilise innovation and technology to help small enterprises grow and compete more effectively in the domestic and global economies.
Providing a wide range of services on various platforms and its affiliated companies, Alibaba's businesses include a travel and tourism service, B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to customer) eCommerce, and data and cloud computing – to name just a few. As one of the world's largest eCommerce companies, Alibaba's websites handle more business than Amazon and eBay combined.
Australia is now one of the five most active countries on Tmall – China's largest online marketplace – with health and nutrition products being especially popular with the Chinese market. Companies such as Chemist Warehouse, Blackmores and Nature's Way continue to top the Tmall sales charts.
eCommerce in China is providing new opportunities for Victorian businesses to offer their products directly to the homes of families in China.
Melbourne pharmacist, Danielle Di Pilla has gained significant financial rewards since placing her product range – The Goat Skincare – online with Tmall. During the 2016 Singles Day – the world's largest online shopping event – Di Pilla sold a whopping A$1 million worth of her products in just 24 hours.
Di Pilla's products continue to be the biggest-selling Australian product range for the second year in a row, and she's confident that Global Victoria's initiative to provide incentives for Alibaba to choose Melbourne for its headquarters will help level the playing field for Victoria's small to medium business owners hoping to access China's massive online retail market.
eCommerce effectively allows the "world to come to your doorstep" Di Pilla commented.
According to an IBIS World Report (April 2016), China's eCommerce market is the world's largest with an estimated 688 million internet users spending more than US$779 billion each year.
Maggie Zhou, Managing Director of Alibaba Group in Australia and New Zealand said the opening of Alibaba in Melbourne will create more opportunities for Australian and New Zealand exporters.
"We are looking forward to working with the Australian and New Zealand retailers on using the Alibaba eCommerce ecosystem," Zhou said, "and help Australian businesses access new markets in China and beyond".
The launch follows another major windfall when in March 2016, the Victorian Government established a first-of-its-kind partnership with Australia Post and Tmall – Alibaba's premier B2C platform and China's most visited retail website – enabling cheaper, faster and easier access for Victoria's producers, exporters and logistics providers to do business with China.