Alibaba execs: 'Don't mistake us for Amazon'

Ma said earlier this year that he hoped e-commerce ecosystem Alibaba would eventually grow to support 1 million US workers.

Ma and his horde of representatives from the USA and China are here for one reason: Sign businesses up for Alibaba's services.

Bloomberg Reporter Selina Wang in a fresh video questioned Alibaba's claim that it could add 1 million jobs after interviewing small US business owners who say it is impossible to know what this kind of trade would look like and how much labor would be required.

The new service, called Tmall World, targets Chinese shoppers overseas, and will allow them to buy goods from Alibaba's Tmall brand-to-consumer retail site and all other Alibaba marketplaces through PC or mobile devices. The invite list was focused on fashion, apparel and everyday goods, including cosmetics, bicycles, fresh food, supplements, baby products and running shoes, Alibaba president Michael Evans told TheStreet.

The mega-spending spree came as China's economy is slowing down as the world's second largest economy is transitioning from dependence on export and investment to consumer spending.

Global business expert Laurel Delaney, Founder and President of Globe Trade said Alibaba's efforts to engage the US small business market in exporting is nothing new. Company founder Sam Wolf shared what his company's experience has been in appealing to Chinese consumers on the Tmall platform, Alibaba's virtual shopping mall.

Representing the vast Midwestern states in the USA and hometown to tens of thousands of small businesses and farms, MI suffered heavy losses in the economic recession of 2008 and is still struggling to bring back its vigor. They launched late previous year with 7,000 products. "This is what Detroit needs to catapult it, to bring more business back". He said Alibaba has been very supportive of his marketing efforts, "We've built a real partnership with Alibaba". Yet among US investors, the Chinese internet behemoth remains relatively unknown.

"There's a scarcity of skilled labour in the USA, particularly skilled technical labour, and I think the authorities need to loosen the requirements on bringing this class of labour into the country", Lam said, adding that he would not invest in the United States until he knew how to source the labour he needed. It's protectionism. China's government uses a variety of sophisticated methods to inhibit foreign competition, including requiring business and customs licences to sell to Chinese consumers and restricting how much yuan or dollars can leave the country.

Half a billion customers are an incredible new marketplace to explore.

The strategy behind attracting small businesses appears to be a part of Alibaba's effort to tap the relatively untapped portions of the retail market. He believes small businesses should operate internationally to survive in the long term. If you can identify a niche product offering and have resources to invest doing business in China, it could be a gold mine.

  • Zachary Reyes