Alibaba Group launched 1688.com nearly a decade ago as a marketplace for connecting China-based buyers and China-based suppliers, but in recent years has opened it up to suppliers from outside the country.
One of the latest suppliers to join the 1688.com club is Dow Greater China, a unit of U.S.-based Dow Chemical that manufactures and markets chemical products there. Dow Greater China joins a number of U.S.-based manufacturers selling into China through 1688, including Cincinnati-based Michelman Inc., a manufacturer of industrial coatings for treating metal, wood, concrete and other materials that operates its own storefront on Michelman.1688.com. Others include such well-known names as 3M, Bosch, Honeywell and Stanley Black & Decker.
Dow, like other suppliers, is using multiple 1688 venues: A storefront on 1688 at DowChina.1688.com; listings on 1688’s IMall section; and a presence on 1688’s Enterprise Procurement platform, a portal that features for managing procurement contracts.
Expanding sales and service
Dow sees the 1688 portals as a way “to expand our online presence and diversify our sales and service channels,” says Yoke Loon Lim, president of Dow Greater China. He notes that Dow is making many of its most popular products available through 1688, including 14 industrial ingredients that for such markets as polyurethanes, food, personal care, industrial coatings, automotive, home decoration and agrichemicals.
China is on course to account for 40% of global chemical sales, according to a report by global consulting firm KPMG.
1688 is home to more than 10 million enterprise storefronts, with 150 million users visiting the site per day, Alibaba says. The site is a sourcing destination for merchants selling on Alibaba’s e-commerce sites Taobao and Tmall, it adds.
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