Promo Marketing Interviews North American Leadership Conference Keynote Speaker Annie Xu
... We are investing in logistics right now, in warehousing and quality control and so forth. In the past, as an information exchange platform, Alibaba never touched a product, even today we are a facilitator, we are not an importer/exporter ourselves. But the challenge of this business model is that products don't go through us and we cannot guarantee that what you see is what you get. So with the logistics infrastructure, rather than become a service provider in the logistics, our real goal is to implement solutions that allow us to eventually put a hand on the products and then work with third-party certification companies and Q.C. teams to ensure that the products go through inspection. They'll say the product is composed of what materials, they'll do spot checks and so forth. So those are the goals. We are just getting started and the [intention] is that we want to get deeper into the supply chain and provide real value there in addition to information.
PM: Besides the authentication and your own quality control along with third parties, how else is e-commerce changing, both within our industry and outside?
AX: I think in terms of the promotional industry, it's still a very traditional industry. Like in any other manufacturing or traditional businesses, I think the Internet is not going to replace the model, rather it's going to enhance that. Information is everywhere, with Google, with all the platforms out there, it's no longer difficult to get information. But with vast amounts of information that could be dumped into finding what you really want and with the supply chain being so complicated, finding the information and finding the right information is only the first step. The majority of these steps do need to be handled by the supply chain that is your traditional way of doing business.