Digital Transformation

Alibaba targets US businesses and entrepreneurs with a conference on US soil

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By Danielle Long | Asia Pacific Correspondent

April 26, 2017 | 3 min read

Alibaba is targeting US small businesses, farmers and entrepreneurs for its ecommerce marketplace by hosting a conference in Detroit.

Gateway 17 will feature speeches, breakout sessions and networking events, in a bid to enlist US businesses onto the Alibaba platform and connect them with Chinese consumers.

Jack Ma, Alibaba's chief executive, was speaking at The World Economic Forum

Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma has launched a conference to target US businesses

The conference, which hopes to attract more than 1,000 US businesses, will feature a keynote address from Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma, as well as UPS chairman and CEO David Abney.

The event aims to generate greater awareness about China’s growing middle class of consumers and help highlight the growth opportunities for US businesses.

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It’s part of a strategy by Alibaba to expand its international business by engaging more international brands. Alibaba hopes to help maintain growth in China’s maturing ecommerce market by supplying new foreign products and brands.

In an open letter, Jack Ma said the company wants to help US entrepreneurs and businesses sell their goods to the growing Chinese consumer class.

“The Chinese market presents tremendous opportunities for U.S. small businesses and farmers to grow their businesses, and in turn, create more U.S. jobs. China’s middle-class population is projected to exceed 600 million by 2022, or nearly twice the size of the entire U.S. population.

“Last year, China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest retail market, with spending topping U.S. $4.84 trillion. By next year, China’s online spending will be greater than the rest of the world combined.

“We are already a gateway for thousands of global brands, retailers and companies to sell to Chinese consumers. And we want to expand that gateway – level the playing field – to make it easy for American entrepreneurs, small businesses and farmers alike to take advantage of the China opportunity,” said Ma.

The conference will take place in June in Detroit, which Ma called the home of “some of America’s greatest ingenuity and innovation”.

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