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.