While the world economy is heading to the toilet and Chinese manufacturers are preparing to feel the pinch because their overseas buyers will have no cash, Alibaba.com is hoping a new round of international advertising will maintain its growth with helping connect Chinese suppliers with foreign customers.
Alibaba.com has announced plans to invest USD30 million to place advertisements on major overseas media in about 20 countries to expand its B2B brand identification and attract foreign customers. Compounding financial worries, quality and safety are lately among top problems Chinese suppliers and manufacturers face when approaching overseas customers, so these ads will need to be epic in their ability to drive more business to Alibaba during an economic downturn.
According to local media reports, Alibaba plans to do a large amount of media advertising in countries such as the United States, Britain, Germany, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Australia and Russia. Its advertisements have already been broadcast on such American TV stations as CNBC, CNN and Fox. These advertisements will last until the end of November 2008.
In addition, Alibaba.com's advertisements will start to appear on larger websites, including Google, Yahoo and Facebook, as well as mainstream media and websites in South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Wei Zhe, CEO of the Alibaba.com subsidiary under the Alibaba Group, says that the USD30 million global advertising plan is the largest promotion action of the company, which is three to five times in scale as that of previous years. Wei says facing the pressures brought by declined orders and the block of export channels to export-oriented Chinese SMEs, Alibaba.com's investment in overseas advertising aims to attract foreign buyers to purchase the Chinese-made products, with the establishment of the largest e-commerce market in the world as its ultimate goal.
Although the current economic situation is not optimistic, said Wei, people still need daily necessities. Consumers will only reduce their spending on luxury goods, but the demands for Chinese-made basic products such as textile products and light industrial products will remain high.
What is perhaps even most interesting is that Alibaba.com, a vertical B2B website, is using mass media to get its message across. Instead of using niche trade, targeted online, print, or television media, the company is focusing on a shotgun advertising approach — a sign that it is either a brilliant advertiser or is wasting its money.