Amazon and Alibaba Go Head-to-Head in China

April Davis By April Davis | 18 May 2018

Amazon is taking the fight for marketplace dominance to Alibaba’s home turf, by hosting an event in Alibaba’s hometown – Hangzhou.

According to an invitation received by financial software, data and media company, Bloomberg, Amazon is organising an event in Hangzhou to connect 400 Chinese manufacturers with merchants from its American and European e-commerce platforms.

Sponsored by Amazon Global Selling, the ‘Coming Together For U’ event will reportedly feature speakers who aim to provide attendees with insights into consumer buying habits across each region, so merchants can plan their 2018 holiday season stock accordingly.

The event is rumoured to be part of Amazon’s effort to become a global logistics operation, as well as a leading e-commerce platform. In the past, Chinese manufacturers have largely been out of reach for merchants on Amazon’s European and American marketplaces, a problem that Amazon is reportedly trying to quash by helping merchants source goods from factories in China that can be shipped directly to international consumers.

It’s believed Amazon will profit from these manufacturer-merchant relationships by collecting finder fees from sellers for helping them to source goods.

If successful, this event will help merchants acquire in-demand goods that can be quickly supplied to consumers without having to travel via the merchant.

Cross-border transactions are expected to reach a value of $900 billion, or 20 percent of the global e-commerce market by 2020, according to research from DHL Worldwide Express. Not surprisingly, this type of trading has become a big focus for Amazon; with the e-commerce giant hosting an event in New York in 2017 to provide sellers with the tools they need to successfully sell to overseas markets.

Amazon hosted 1,500 merchants and presented them with information on currency exchange and language translation services. Amazon also advertises shipment consolidation and international freight options as benefits for selling to international consumers on its platform.

The company’s push towards greater cross-border opportunities is a result of stiffer competition as the likes of Alibaba, Walmart and eBay continue to grow within the global marketplace.

In the first quarter, Amazon reported total revenue of $9.3 billion, an increase of 39 percent, for cross-border trade.

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