The B2B marketplace says about 30,000 MSMEs, or micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, are using its AI tools to increase product exposure and grow ecommerce.

On Alibaba.com, the global B2B marketplace of Alibaba Group, businesses are relying more on artificial intelligence tools to foster commerce, the marketplace company says.

We are building a global supply chain by and for MSMEs, leveraging AI.
Kuo Zhang, president
Alibaba.com

About 30,000 businesses on the marketplace use Alibaba’s AI tools to increase product exposure in targeted markets, a practice sellers on the marketplace say helps them grow even with limited internal staffs.

“Using AI has helped put my Alibaba.com store on autopilot and saved us a lot of time since it’s just me and one employee managing our business,” Sieu To, deputy managing director of Vietnam-based electric fan company Hanh Sanh Co., Ltd., says in an Alibaba press release issued today.

Alibaba.com is a unit of Alibaba International Commerce Group and serves more than 48 million buyers and more than 200,000 suppliers on its ecommerce platform worldwide.

KuoZhang-Alibaba-com

Kuo Zhang, president, Alibaba.com

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At an event to mark the United Nations-sponsored MSME Day today in Geneva, Kuo Zhang, president of Alibaba.com, participated in a panel discussion presented by the U.N. International Trade Center on the inclusion of small and midsized business in global trade. “As we promote wider adoption of our AI tools amongst MSMEs, we also hope to expand our global supplier base … we are building a global supply chain by and for MSMEs, leveraging AI,” he said.

Last month, the marketplace company surveyed 500 MSME companies that do business on Alibaba.com and range in size from one to 250 employees.

Among the survey’s findings:

  • 25% to 35% of respondents use AI on a daily basis.
  • Using AI tools led to an average 37% increase in product exposure to promote growth in commerce.
  • Companies using AI tools accepted 70% of product optimization suggestions.

The survey also found that companies from developing countries accounted for much of the use of the marketplace’s AI tools. “Among the top 20 countries making the most frequent use of Alibaba.com’s AI tools, approximately 50% are from developing countries,” Alibaba says.

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Earlier this year, Alibaba.com launched the latest AI-powered version of its Smart Assistant global sourcing tool. Alibaba describes the tool as an “intuitive personal guide to sourcing that helps small business owners discover new opportunities, stay up-to-date on trends, seamlessly track orders and more in a single, efficient touchpoint.”

Alibaba adds that businesses on Alibaba.com can diversify their product sources in markets known for specific product categories.

For example:

  • In Northeast Asia, buyers can connect with natural ingredient skin care suppliers out of Korea and partner with home furniture and camera, photo and accessory manufacturers in Japan.
  • In Southeast Asia, Vietnam is a supplier hub for seasoning and condiments, and home and outdoor furniture. Buyers can also seek out expert suppliers in India and Pakistan for loose gemstones and horse racing gear.
  • In West Asia and Europe, carpets, men’s clothing and construction and building machinery suppliers can be found in Turkey. Buyers are able to tap into suppliers in Germany for industrial machinery and suppliers of wine, textile machinery and women’s apparel from Italy.

“Alibaba.com has helped me expand my business beyond Europe into markets like China, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Ghana,” says Maria Francesca Aceti, CEO of nutritional supplements supplier Deltha Pharma.

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On its website, Deltha says it is looking for distributors throughout the world.

Paul Demery is a Digital Commerce 360 contributing editor covering B2B digital commerce technology and strategy. [email protected].

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