Alibaba is continuing its international push. Now, according to statements from CEO Michael Evans picked up by CNBC, the company plans to expand Tmall to Europe.
"You will see something called Tmall that we have in China become Tmall in Europe, which means we will serve local brands and local consumers in the local market," said Evans, who revealed that the company is currently running a pilot project in Spain, which "will expand across Europe."
In China, Tmall strongly focuses on selling foreign brands to Chinese consumers. The launch of Tmall in Europe reflects a significant shift in Alibaba's strategy for its international e-commerce operations.
As Evans explained, Tmall would focus on selling local brands to local buyers in Europe. "Europe is a priority for all businesses with an international component," Evans asserted.
The announcement comes just over two months after Alibaba announced plans to split its business into six units, a move designed to give each unit more autonomy and faster decision-making powers.
According to the plan, under Alibaba Group, six main business groups and several business companies will be established, including Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, Taobao Tmall Business, International Digital Business, Local Life, Cainiao and Dawen Entertainment, and other companies will also be independently operated and managed accordingly.
Similarly, Alibaba Group will remain a holding company with Daniel Zhang as chairman and CEO, while its CEO and board of directors will manage each of the six business groups. Each business group will retain the flexibility to raise external capital and conduct an IPO when ready, except Taobao Tmall, which will continue to be owned by Alibaba Group.
Meanwhile, Alibaba has been trying to cool down the growing rumors about its founder Jack Ma, who seems to have vanished from public view.
Jack Ma, disappear from public appearances after giving a speech criticizing China's regulatory system in 2020. However, Ma remains Alibaba's biggest shareholder and still holds considerable power in the company.
Ma left mainland China in late 2021 for Japan, Spain, Australia, and Thailand, according to photographs, but returned in March, a day before Alibaba announced its restructuring. He has not made any public comments during that period.
"Jack is alive; he is well; he is happy. He is teaching at a university in Tokyo and spending more time in China," said J. Michael Evans, current Alibaba Group President.
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