Alibaba is exploring the possibility of offering shoppers in Brazil credit facilities to accelerate e-commerce growth in the country. Brazil is a vital emerging e-commerce territory and Alibaba hasn’t always succeeded in getting share in the country. It’s hoped that offering credit will turbo charge the spending power of Brazilian shoppers Alibaba.
Alibaba head honcho Jack Ma is keen to develop the company’s operations in Brazil but it’s not clear exactly what form the credit services will take: “We want to invest in e-commerce, logistics and inclusive financing. Alibaba has business-to-business and business-to-consumer operations in Brazil. We did very well in the last few years. But now we have some issues and our team is working on them.”
Brazil is one of the world’s fastest growing economies but an economic downturn has stifled e-commerce growth, and the economy in general. E-commerce sales reached USD$15.6bn (£11.9bn) in 2016 and that represented 42.3% of Latin American’s total online sales. Critical to Brazil’s e-commerce success are smartphones which have seen a huge increase of usage in the past few years. Between 2014 and 2016, the usage of smartphones increased from 19% to 40% in Brazil. We’ll see if Alibaba’s credit offering means it can grow its presence in the region.