Alibaba Boosts SME E-Commerce in Mexico
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Alibaba Boosts SME E-Commerce in Mexico

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Alessa Flores By Alessa Flores | Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst - Fri, 08/14/2020 - 13:15

This Thursday, Andrés Díaz, Co-Founder of Atomic 88 and strategic partner for e-commerce of Alibaba, announced that both companies are already supporting entrepreneurs as well as SMEs in Guanajuato to sell their products online and accelerate their sales through digital villages. Both companies will be looking to grow the project to other states in the medium term, according to a note from Forbes Mexico. 

"We are now starting with two digital villages in Guanajuato but we hope to grow the project to Sonora, Jalisco, Chiapas and Quintana Roo. We are excited because this year we want to start working on a digital village for each state of the Republic," said Diaz. Digital villages are groups of young people educated in digital skills, innovation and entrepreneurship. Atomic 88 is a smart business accelerator that seeks to digitally transform companies and also works as the certification center of Alibaba Business School in Mexico.

According to INEGI's 2018 figures, it is estimated that there are just over 4.1 million MSMEs in Mexico working in the manufacturing, trade and non-financial private services sectors. 97.3 percent of these companies are microenterprises and the remaining 2.7 percent are SMEs. It is estimated that only 33 percent of SMEs use online sales or e-commerce, according to the Study of SME Online Sales 2019 prepared by the Mexican Association of Online Sales (AMVO). Only 3 percent of SMEs sell solely through the internet, while 29 percent sell through various channels including the internet. In comparison, 68 percent of SMEs sell through various channels other than the Internet. Moreover, the study showed that 20 percent of the companies believe e-commerce to be nothing or not very relevant. 

Online sales channels are very varied among SMEs, as well. Around 33 percent sell through Facebook and 15 percent through Instagram. Meanwhile, 26 percent claim to sell through their own channel or website, 22 percent do so through marketplaces such as Amazon, Mercado Libre and Linio and 4 percent through third-party sites such as Liverpool and Best Buy, explains AMVO’s report. It is estimated that by 2020, e-commerce will see growth of 60 percent in Mexico. Yet, very few SMEs have their own infrastructure or third parties to sell online, Diaz told Forbes Mexico. 

The Chinese giant Alibaba is not the only one targeting Mexican SMEs. The Chamber of the Transformation Industry (CANACINTRA) and the Confederation of National Chambers of Commerce, Services and Tourism (CONCANACO) announced the "Mexico at Your Door" initiative developed by eLeaders and the Mexico Internet Association to help SMEs embrace the digital transformation, according to a note from El Economista. The program is designed to help SMEs in a comprehensive way as it will not only help them to have an online store but also with aspects such as design, presentation of products and services. This strategy has two main goals. On the one hand, it helps SMEs to get involved in digital trends and, on the other, it prevents them from disappearing due to the impact of the pandemic, explained to El Economista Philippe Boulanger, Director of eLeaders.

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