Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) will launch a logistics service in South Korea later this year, the company announced yesterday, confirming reports by the Korean press. However, the Chinese e-commerce giant denied that the launch will take place in April, as it had been suggested by some local newspapers. Yesterday’s development was reported by Chinese news agency Xinhua.
In yesterday’s trading, Alibaba shares closed up 0.1 percent at $85.04, giving the company a market capitalisation of $210.2 billion. The stock has fallen 18.6 percent since the start of the year.
Alibaba said that its logistics firm Cainiao Network was planning and carrying out a medium- and long-term logistics programme in South Korea. The company wants to work with domestic and overseas partners to integrate logistic services in the country.
The launch of the service could help Alibaba lure more South Korean vendors to its platform. It will allow Chinese customers to purchase products directly from South Korean sellers via Alibaba’s one-stop services, offered via the company’s online shopping mall Tmall, online payment platform Alipay, and Cainiao Network.
The move reflects Alibaba’s increased focus on expanding in South Korea in recent years, which was underpinned by last year’s meeting between Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma and South Korea’s president Park Geun-hye. Ma and Park agreed to promote e-commerce cooperation between the two countries, including helping Alibaba's Cainiao logistics enter South Korea’s market.
Also last year, Alibaba opened a tax refund service in South Korea through its Alipay platform. Alipay also partnered with local company T-Money on Alipay T-money – a card for Chinese tourists that can be used for any public transportation service in Seoul and Jeju Island, as well as in a range of outlets such as convenience stores and coffee shops.