Going Digital

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Alibaba’s annual Investor Day is always a keenly anticipated event for anyone looking for clues as to the direction of China’s largest and fastest-growing e-commerce company and the health of local domestic consumption which, like many countries during the Covid crisis, has seen a rapid move towards shopping online.

Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang said “in the midst of so many uncertainties, the future of digitalisation is the biggest certainty we can see. Digitalisation is the biggest opportunity of our time. Digitalisation is being embraced by consumers, manufacturers, retailers and brands across China’s economy.”

A quick glance at the number of users across Alibaba’s numerous digital platforms provides plenty of evidence:

China Retail Marketplaces – added close to 119 million MAUs (monthly active users) while the number of annual active consumers reached 742 million in the last quarter.

B2B – 1688.com has 920,000 paying members and 41 million active buyers (domestic) Alibaba.com has 190,000 paying members and 26 million active buyers (international).

Supermarket chains – Freshippo reported that its annual active consumers have exceeded 25 million. It’s also expanded its footprint from 159 stores to 227 stores in the past year

Local Services – Covid-19 has also accelerated the growth of Alibaba’s local services platforms, which now has a user base of over 290 million

Cloud Services – Alibaba Cloud has the largest market share in Asia Pacific and China with 3 million paying customers

It’s hard to see any of these trends reversing when the global pandemic is over.

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