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Alibaba must expand globally or it won't survive, says CEO

Even though it reigns supreme in one of the world's largest markets, China, Alibaba wants to expand globally. If it fails to do so, it might not survive, the company's new CEO said recently.

In a speech given to employees on Wednesday, the new Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said Alibaba will heavily invest in “new and existing overseas operations“.

In his speech, Zhang said he wants to recruit talent from other countries and adopt “global thinking.” If the company can’t globalise, then Alibaba won’t last, he said. “We need to have global talent,” he said.

We must absolutely globalise and it must be a successful effort—if not Alibaba won’t be able to last” for more than 100 years, one of Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma’s loftiest corporate goals.

Alibaba is mostly focused on the Chinese market, where it operates two online retail sites, and Taobao Marketplace. The company has slowly been expanding into other markets, where it will eventually have to clash with the likes of Ebay and Amazon.

It already has its AliExpress site, an English-language e-commerce platform that sells Chinese-made goods to international customers. And it has been courting foreign brands to sell through its Tmall site.

The company is also making a strong push into cloud computing. It already provides cloud and big-data analytics services to 1.4 million customers in China and Aliyun, the company’s cloud-computing arm, recently opened a data center in Silicon Valley and this week announced a technology joint venture in Dubai.

“This year, I think it’s very important that cloud computing keeps growing its number of customers, the quality, efficiency,” Zhang said. “Cloud computing is taking off, I have confidence that (it) can become as important as e-commerce and finance because big data is our basic, fundamental, important platform.”