“We’re not coming here to compete,” Ma told the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday.
The vast bulk of Alibaba’s revenue comes from its dominant domestic online marketplaces, but the company has been investing aggressively in a range of sectors abroad.
Still, it has taken what amounts to a conservative approach to expanding in the United States, contrary to industry speculation that it may be plotting a direct assault on U.S. soil after its record-breaking $25 billion IPO in September.
Ma said he is regularly asked when Alibaba will “invade” America and do battle withAmazon Inc and ebay Inc. Last year, the company debuted a small direct-to-consumer U.S. portal, 11Main.com, which is a collection of Internet storefronts for smaller businesses.
“The opportunity and the strategy for us is helping small business in America go to China, sell their products to China,” Ma said.
The future for Alibaba is in building out its e-commerce infrastructure beyond China’s borders, he said.
In the first three months of the year, Alibaba’s revenue from China commerce grew 39 percent to $2.2 billion. International commerce grew 27 percent to $264 million and only accounted for 9 percent of revenue, compared with 11 percent in the same period a year earlier.
Alibaba says some of its larger overseas markets include Brazil and Russia. The company and its affiliates are also making overtures in India.