On Feburary 7, Alibaba released its financial results for the quarter concluding on December 31, 2023. Alibaba‘s International Digital Commerce Group (AIDC) largely surpassed expectations, delivering an impressive performance with a 44% year-on-year increase in revenue, and an overall orders growing by 24% year-on-year.
Within AIDC’s commercial structure, which splits into a wholesale segment represented by Alibaba.com and a consumer retail branch encompassing platforms such as Lazada, AliExpress, Trendyol, Daraz, and Miravia, AliExpress has notably risen as the standout performer in the retail sector for the past quarter. This achievement is largely driven by an impressive order growth of over 60% quarter-on-quarter, significantly influenced by “Choice,” a premium service designed to enhance the cross-border shopping experience.
According to Club Ecommerce and EGI Group, AliExpress became the second most frequented e-commerce platform in Spain by December 2023. In the United States, data from Similarweb shows that AliExpress saw an average of 24.2 million visits per month in 2023, marking a 290% year-on-year surge and establishing it as one of the country’s most rapidly expanding e-commerce sites. Furthermore, mobile analytics firm WiseApp reported that the number of monthly active AliExpress users in South Korea nearly doubled to 7 million in November of the same year.
AliExpress’s European Commercial Director, Gary Topp, described Choice’s launch as a “turning point” for the company, noting it bolstered customer loyalty and market presence via features like free shipping and easy returns.
According to AliExpress, in January 2024, the orders of Choice accounted for about half of the total orders of the platform and continued to grow rapidly.
This impressive growth in the retail business did not occur in isolation. Since December quarter, 2022, under the strategic guidance of CEO Jiang Fan, AIDC’s retail business has been on a remarkable upswing, consistently achieving double-digit year-on-year growth. The growth momentum has continuously outpaced market anticipations over the past six quarters.
On the conference call, Jiang Fan attributed the robust financial performance of AIDC to three key drivers: enhanced consumer experience as a result of the business model and supply chain services upgrade, product and technology innovation, and finally, AIDC’s targeted expansion in priority markets.
In addition to AliExpress, Trendyol also continued to record strong double-digit quarter-on-quarter order growth in the past quarter, maintaining its leading position in the Turkish e-commerce market while further expanding its business to the Middle Eastern region.
Similarly, in Southeast Asia, Lazada continued to focus on improving operational efficiency, and with further improvements in monetization rates and reductions in logistics costs, the loss per order continued to narrow year-on-year this quarter.
When proposing forthcoming strategic initiatives, Jiang Fan stated that AIDC will execute a comprehensive strategy aimed at amplifying its business performance and extending its global presence.
One of the key pillars of this strategy, according to Jiang, is the enhancement of AIDC’s hybrid business model, known as the AliExpress Choice model. This model, designed to integrate a fully entrusted business model, aims at optimizing the platform’s supply chain, striking a balance between user experience and product variety, while reducing barriers for merchants to participate in cross-border commerce. By investing in this model – which has been proved successful through the robust growth in the past quarters – AIDC aims to provide more seamless and enriched experience for both merchants and customers.
Another crucial aspect of AIDC’s future strategy revolves around product and technology innovation. The company plans to continue optimizing its products based on local preferences in key countries and regions. Furthermore, AIDC intends to deploy advanced AI technology to enhance operating efficiency and provide advanced services. These services include real-time language translation and rapid generation of marketing images and videos, which will further lower the barriers for merchants and streamline their operations on the platform.
In this context, AIDC has already introduced multiple innovative AI tools and services, including the “Business Assistant”, “OKKI AI” and “Aidge”, in late 2023. These tools and services, equipped with a comprehensive suite of features, are all aimed at empowering merchants and tailored to trading scenarios.
In August 2023, Alibaba.com unveiled AI applications “Business Assistant” and “OKKI AI”, to streamline digital trade operations for foreign trade suppliers, both within and outside the Alibaba ecosystem. In November, AIDC introduced “Aidge,” an AI suite powered by its proprietary LLM model, featuring capabilities in translation, marketing, and design. This pilot launch is designed to cater to independent software vendors and SaaS providers, aiming to address global business challenges such as language and cultural barriers, high marketing expenses, and talent shortages. Aidge represents an innovative solution poised to transform how businesses across the world overcome these common obstacles.
These trailblazing AI e-commerce products represent the first of their kind, combining industry-specific integration with a viable business model.
Pandaily has learned from Alibaba.com that following the launch of these products, the volume of overseas inquiries for AI-optimized products on Alibaba.com saw a 15% surge. Internal testing data further revealed that the AI Business Assistant could potentially boost a cross-border trade merchant’s exposure by approximately 19%.
Jiang Fan further identified market expansion and consumer experience enhancement as the third cornerstone of AIDC’s future strategy. Jiang’s vision includes sustaining and accelerating growth in crucial markets such as Turkey and Europe. This growth strategy will leverage strategic acquisitions like Visable, a B2B digital trade platform.
Simultaneously, AIDC is dedicated to refining the consumer experience from start to finish. This involves guaranteeing consistent product quality, offering competitive pricing, improving delivery times, and introducing value-added services, including localized product returns. This dual approach reflects Jiang Fan’s commitment to both expanding AIDC’s market presence and elevating the customer journey.