Alibaba could soon make an appearance on highstreets in the UK as the Chinese ecommerce giant puts together a British retail team.
At its UK headquarters in London, Alibaba is understood to have built a small but expanding team of retail executives who are working alongside consultants, according to sources speaking to The Telegraph.
This has sparked speculation that it could be seeking to expand its physical retail presence in Europe, having launched its first bricks-and-mortar store AliExpress in Spain earlier this year.
The increasingly stagnant economic growth in China has forced Alibaba to focus on expanding into international markets, launching an English language website and allowing sellers from overseas to list on the platform for the first time over the past six months.
It has also been rapidly expanding its physical retail presence in China, spending over £2 billion in 2017 to take a 36 per cent stake in the Chinese grocery market, now trading from over 150 stores.
International brands, especially heritage British brands like Waitrose and Whittard of Chelsea, both of which already sell on Alibaba, are very popular with the Chinese market.
In fact, Chinese customers spent significantly more on international brands during yesterday’s 11.11 shopping event than the entirety of Black Friday sales in the UK last year.
Though its likely to be selling Chinese technology brands to the British market, not the other way around, the synergies between the two shopping demographics could well encourage an investment in the UK’s struggling high streets.