China's Alibaba Considers Detrioit Distribution Center

June 21, 2017, 4:46 PM Crain's Detroit Business

During a major business conference at Cobo Center in Detroit  this week, hosted by China's Alibaba Group, the giant ecommerce retailer said it was considering Mayor Mike Dugan's recommendation to open a distribution center in Detroit.

"No decisions have been made, but we talked about the potential for a presence here," Joseph Tsai, vice chairman and co-founder of Alibaba, told Dustin Walsh of Crain's Detroit Business on Wednesday in an interview at Cobo Center. "The mayor is excited, but we'd need to do a feasibility study of the possibilities. But Detroit has made such an impression on us."

Such a move, if it were to come to fruition, would be a pretty big deal considering Alibaba is regarded as the world's largest retailer with operations in more than 200 countries. It promotes itself as giving suppliers the tools necessary to reach a global audience, while helping buyers find products and suppliers quickly and efficiently.

The Detroit conference on Tuesday and Wednesday, entitled "Gateway '17," was promoted as a way for local and U.S. to sell products on Alibaba's online platform.

The program website says:

China’s fast-growing middle class is now larger than the entire U.S. population. These discerning shoppers are increasingly looking to purchase high-quality, American products – and they are looking for them online.

Alibaba Group is helping U.S. entrepreneurs, small business owners, brands and farmers tap into the e-commerce enabled Chinese economy. This inspiring event will provide you with the tools and information you need to access this fast-growing consumer and sourcing market.

Read more:  Crain's Detroit Business

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