Alibaba’s Group General Manager Europe departs
For Alibaba, the European market is strategically very significant, being home to several interesting geographical demographics: Western Europe's affluent middle class, the emerging economies of Eastern Europe, and Turkey, gateway to the Middle East.
In other words, Europe is a key battleground in the market share war between Alibaba and its rival Amazon. According to German media however, Alibaba now needs to find a new chief of staff on the continent, as Terry von Bibra has left the group.
Von Bibra, formerly at Amazon and Karstadt, had been with the Chinese group since autumn 2015. Besides taking care of the German-speaking countries, von Bibra’s efforts were initially focused on Eastern Europe and Turkey, where he worked to boost Alibaba's reputation and attract vendors. At the end of 2016, he had been appointed Group General Manager Europe.
“Europe is a complicated market, and Alibaba is a complex platform — my job is to bring the two together,” said von Bibra in one of his most recent interviews, to Germany’s monthly Manager Magazin.
In Europe, Alibaba recently made headlines after building a huge logistics hub in Belgium, and there were even rumours that the Chinese group is mulling the acquisition of German fashion and luxury e-tail site Zalando. Alibaba is tackling Amazon head on, striving to attract new vendors to its e-marketplace, notably by applying lower commission rates than its US competitor.
In Spain, Alibaba is testing a physical retail presence, having opened a 700 sqm-plus AliExpress store in Madrid, and having also inked deals with the El Corte Inglès department store group and several Spanish brands. Step by step, the group now headed by Daniel Zhang is making headway in Europe.
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