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Alibaba to attract sellers through offices in Europe

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba plans to open offices or 'embassies' across Europe to attract more sellers to its platform, according to the Financial Times14 Oct 2015

The embassies will be in Italy, France and Germany, and aim to set up the company as a gateway to the Chinese market for European vendors, the Financial Times said.

"In the past, it was really only multinationals that could afford to sell their products internationally. But in the last 10 years, much has changed," Alibaba president Michael Evans told the newspaper. The embassies will help "the world to sell to China, and … China to sell to the world", he said.

China's growing middle class is looking for authentic, quality international products, Evans told the Financial Times.

France's Le Monde reported in March that Alibaba would open an 'embassy' in Paris in October. Jack Ma, chief executive of Alibaba, reportedly told French president François Hollande of the plans.

A member of Hollande's team said that Hollande and Ma also discussed the development of a European supply chain for Alibaba by the French postal system, La Poste, Le Monde reported.

Alibaba announced partnerships with two UK start ups earlier this year, to provide finance for smaller companies looking to buy from China.