Alibaba CEO unveils 2016 roadmap: 4 key strategies in 3 primary markets

Zhang Yong, Alibaba CEO (Photo from Sina Tech)
Zhang Yong, Alibaba CEO (Photo from Sina Tech)

Zhang Yong, the CEO of Alibaba, revealed the company’s retail business roadmap on Wednesday. The e-commerce giant plans to focus on four key strategies including enhancing user experience, boosting its ecosystem, energizing merchants and upgrading consumption, Tencent Tech reports.

At the company’s first internal management meeting in 2016, Zhang also said Alibaba will mainly explore three markets: the global market, rural areas and first-tier cities in China.  

Alibaba made it a clear strategy to explore the global market. Back in November, prior to the Singles’ Day shopping festival, they announced that they will open Tmall branches in Germany, France and Italy to boost “global sales” by attracting foreign buyers to Chinese goods.

Not only Alibaba, but other large Chinese tech companies are also eying the rural market. Richard Liu, CEO of, Alibaba’s rival, also announced that his company will focus on the rural market. Lei Jun, founder of Chinese smartphone maker giant Xiaomi, called the rural market the next big cake to compete for. That’s because mobile Internet growth has slowing down in urban areas, but the rural market still has a lot of potential. According to CNNIC, 30.1% of the Chinese rural population has Internet access and 84.6% of Internet devices in rural areas are mobile phones.

Looking back on the past decade, Zhang said the e-commerce giant has expanded rapidly by profiting from both online buyers and merchants. The so-called demographic dividend period is over as the internet users growth has slowed down in general. And the constant changes of today’s market has also forced Alibaba to upgrade, he said.

He also said that focusing on user experience is a basic principle. Besides boosting the ecosystem of buyers and sellers, the company also wants to find more profitable channels. Alibaba wants to use big data and combine marketing tools to energize merchants. At the same time, it will create more consumption demand by upgrading consumption.

Zhang admitted that online sales can no longer bring rapid growth. But he said that combining wholesale and retail models means growth potential in three areas: offline sales, online to offline and the rural and global markets.

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