Alibaba has outlined its strategy for the coming year, with a focus on domestic expansion.
Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zheng has said that the strategy for this year is to grow Alibaba’s operations in China’s biggest cities. Following on from September’s announcement that Beijing would become the company’s second headquarters, plans will now advance for driving operations in the capital in categories such as groceries and consumer electronics.
Alibaba also intends for Beijing to act as a springboard to access less developed areas in China. Zheng added that promoting e-commerce in rural China was another priority for the company, alongside international expansion.
“Global import, rural e-commerce, and top-tier cities are the three key battlefields for Alibaba in 2016,” he told company employees.
A renewed focus on China may come as a surprise to some. Last year Alibaba made a large show of its international presence, even hiring Michael Evansto, a former Goldman Sachs Executive, to oversee international expansion. ‘Singles’ Day’ saw unprecedented levels of importing foreign goods for Chinese customers, and for the first time a Managing Director was elected to oversee Alibaba in the UK.
However, Zheng qualified his statement by advising that Alibaba would continue to improve channels allowing foreign businesses to sell in China. Tmall Global and g.taobao.com, both under the Alibaba umbrella, are designed to increase cross-border trade on the platform. In his statement, Zheng said they he would “build our business around the two brands, in order to raise their awareness among customers and offer optimal user experience.”
Alibaba is the world’s largest, most valuable online brand. Originating in China, it has grown alongside the country’s internet availability.