Briefing

U.S. sellers now allowed on Alibaba.com, Canadian access to follow

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The Chinese e-commerce giant’s business-to-business (B2B) marketplace currently has 10 million buyers and 150,000 vendors. U.S. firms make up about a third of purchasers on the site currently. Brion Tingler, head of external affairs, told The Logic that access for Canadian firms is “coming,” but did not provide a timeline. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Alibaba is making a major push to increase the number of international vendors on its e-commerce platforms. Tuesday’s move targets small- and medium-sized B2B firms. To beat Amazon Business, Alibaba plans to charge a flat membership fee instead of taking a cut of sales, which could be cheaper for merchants that sell large volumes. There’s a large potential market for the service in Canada. Just 14 per cent of Canadian B2B firms generate the majority of their sales online, according to a 2016 survey. Alibaba is also looking to grow the number of foreign firms on its consumer-facing sites. In June, the company launched an English version of its Tmall Global platform, on which brands build online stores, with a target of doubling its roster of international brands to 40,000.