(Yicai Global) Feb. 1 -- Chinese internet behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. will soon open the doors of its first physical store for cross-border e-commerce platform Tmall HK in Hangzhou, as it takes advantage of preferential policies in the city due to its status as a national pilot city for the sector.
The store, located in the city's Intime Department Store, which Hangzhou-based Alibaba acquired last year, has completed internal testing and is almost ready to open, Alibaba said in a press briefing yesterday.
Customers' shopping experience will be slightly different in-stores from what they are used to due to the products being imported goods. Shoppers first buy their products online and then fill in a cross-border e-commerce transaction form for regulation purposes before picking up their purchases in person from the store.
As a cross-border pilot city, Hangzhou is fast becoming a hub for activity related to the sector as processes are more efficient. Tmall HK rival Kaola.com, operated by tech giant Netease Inc., is also mulling the establishment of a cross-border direct-sale store in city's Qianjiang New City district.
Alibaba also plans to set up similar outlets in trade zones in other cities such as Shenzhen and Ningbo. Tmall HK's offline presence will be dependent on local e-commerce policies available in different cities and communications with customs.