New office in Australia underscores Alibaba’s regional ambitions

Chinese e-retailer Alibaba Group has opened a new base in Australia, with Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma on hand to open the new office in Melbourne. The office will serve as headquarters for Alibaba’s operations in Australia and New Zealand. Last year, Alibaba Cloud, Alibaba Group’s cloud-computing subsidiary, opened a data center in Sydney as the e-commerce company expands in the region.


Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma

The company said that more than 1,000 brick-and-mortar stores across Australia and New Zealand already accept Alipay, the e-wallet app owned by Alibaba-affiliated company Ant Financial. Alibaba is also expanding into Australia’s travel and digital entertainment markets.

Ma said that the new office would “help Australian and New Zealand businesses share their world-famous products with billions of customers around the world.”

Led by ANZ managing director Maggie Zhou, the new outpost will support the 1,300 Australian and 400 New Zealand businesses selling on the Chinese-language Tmall and Tmall Global B2C marketplaces, while also working to bring new merchants onto the platforms.

“A physical Alibaba headquarters is a key step in ensuring Australian businesses have the support and information they need to succeed in China and the rest of the world,” Zhou said in a statement.

Alibaba has ambitions well beyond e-commerce services in Australia. According to Zhou, the goal is “to build the entire operating infrastructure needed to enable local businesses to expand globally,” including cloud computing, online payments and logistics.

The company is aiming to import elements of its Chinese operations, where it has built a comprehensive logistics platform that handles e-commerce deliveries on one platform, called the Cainiao Network. Unlike Amazon, which owns its infrastructure, Cainiao relies entirely on partner transportation and warehousing capacity. Today, the Cainiao network covers more than 224 countries and regions.

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