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Alibaba platforms boosts UK exports to China by 54% since 2019
Wed, 21st Feb 2024

A recent report from Alibaba Group highlights a growing trend for UK exports to China through their platforms, with a significant increase of 54% noted since 2019. This dramatic rise illustrates not only a robust demand from Chinese consumers for UK brands and high-quality products across a vast array of sectors but also emphasises the emerging role of digital platforms in facilitating global business opportunities.

Financial numbers further underscore this trend. The UK has seen estimated tax revenues of more than GBP £956 million being collected from sales on Alibaba's platforms in 2022, a considerable increase from the GBP £606 million logged in 2019. Furthermore, the estimated number of UK jobs supported by businesses utilising Alibaba's platforms for commerce has risen from 24,006 to 33,357 in the same timeframe.

The report, commissioned by Alibaba Group and produced by SDA Bocconi School of Management in Italy, also revealed that across 27 European countries, sales to China via Alibaba Group's platforms totalled approximately GBP £32.3 billion in 2022, a rise of a third since 2019. The collective export value of goods from these 27 countries to Chinese customers using Alibaba's platforms amounted to GBP £121.4 billion over the period 2019 to 2022.

The commodity breakdown shows that more than a third (35%) of the gross merchandise value of exported goods comprised of beauty, perfume, personal care and make-up items. Textiles and clothing made up a close second at 31%, followed by food and beverages at 8%, and furniture and other manufactured goods at 7%.

Excluding the UK's figures, the volume from the rest of Europe was particularly impactful. Between 2019 and 2022, European exports to China via Alibaba's platforms contributed nearly GBP £70 billion to the GDP of Germany, France, Italy and Spain while supporting the creation of an impressive 205,965 jobs.

Alibaba's success is not limited to catering to existing businesses but actively supporting the growth journeys of European SMEs through the use of their digital platforms and tools. By presenting smaller businesses the opportunity to target the vast Chinese market, Alibaba is fostering increased innovation across business models.

Eric Pelletier, Vice President and Head of International Government Relations at Alibaba, highlighted the role of Alibaba in facilitating European and UK businesses, regardless of size, to expand their reach into international markets. By leveraging e-commerce platforms, such as Alibaba's, SMEs gain access to global customer bases, thus enhancing their sales opportunities and contributing to the local economy while preserving jobs in the UK.

Pelletier said: "Alibaba helps European and UK companies of all sizes sell to customers in international markets, protecting UK jobs and contributing to the local economy. E-commerce opens cross border markets for SMEs, enabling them to utilise digital tools to market and sell their products to customers they would otherwise never have the capacity to do business with."