Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has officially made a move to go global by launching its Taobao marketplace in Singapore, seeking to make its mark in Southeast Asia after using Hong Kong and Taiwan as a stepping stone a year ago to make the jump overseas.
With the launch, Taobao now has a regional landing page for Southeast Asia, and a dual-language registration page will be available next month.
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Starting with Singapore is a smart move on Alibaba’s part as Taobao is already relatively known in the city. Despite not having an official presence, Taobao International director Daphne Lee said the site has more than 280,000 registered users in Singapore and that it has “seen tremendous growth locally in the last few years, most of which has been generated through organic interest of e-commerce platforms.”
The huge drawback has been the inconvenience of shipping options. Now Singaporeans who shop on Taobao can choose the International Parcel Forwarding Service, which solves issues related to selecting a third-party forwarding service provider.
Alibaba also revealed today that is not content with simply facilitating the selling and buying of goods overseas — instead it is looking to build a whole e-commerce ecosystem, just as it has done in China. The local Singapore office will be seeking to expand the use of online payments through Alipay in Southeast Asia. The Alipay Purchase Card is already available in Singapore via certain payment terminals.
However, Alibaba is already a step behind its e-commerce rival Jingdong, which last month announced a strategic partnership with IT products group iKnow to launch JD.com’s Singapore site and pick-up stations for purchases made online.
Headline image via Mike Clarke/AFP/Getty Images