UK sellers have had a torrid time over the last 18 months when it comes to selling abroad, as Brexit and the Coronavirus outbreak have introduced unprecedented challenges. This is why the timing of Alibaba and WorldFirst’s partnership is perfect for UK sellers. The two companies are offering their services to UK SMEs and sellers to help them expand their business and gain access to Alibaba’s considerable amount of buyers. Here’s everything you need to know about Alibaba’s expansion into the UK.

Who Are Alibaba & World First?

All ecommerce sellers will likely be aware of Alibaba, but their brand is not quite as big in the UK as it around the globe. The Chinese ecommerce giant is an online marketplace that claims to reach over 1.18 billion users every 12 months. As one of the biggest companies in the world, and an industry leader in ecommerce, the platform is a great way for sellers to gain exposure to potential new consumers.

WorldFirst is a payment management group that was founded in London about 15 years ago. Predominantly, the company serves as a go-between between sellers and online marketplaces. As well as managing payments, WorldFirst also offer sellers access to their risk management tools and provide advice and support when it comes to signing up to one of their partnered marketplaces.

Alibaba subsidiary Ant Financial Group acquired WorldFirst in 2019 for approximately £500 million. Together, they are also expanding Alibaba into Singapore.

So What Does The New Partnership Mean For Ecommerce Sellers?

UK-based ecommerce sellers should certainly be excited about the new partnership between Alibaba and WorldFirst. The collaboration gives UK sellers the chance to reach 15 million buyers from 200 countries and regions via the Alibaba platform.

In addition, WorldFirst have pledged to support UK SMEs through the process. They’re prepared to offer a range of advice, including help with registration, the set up and maintenance of their online store, and even navigating the platform and its services. The joint venture between a leading ecommerce specialist and payment provider means that this collaboration will offer a unique opportunity for ecommerce sellers to expand their business.

Omnichannel Ecommerce More Important Than Ever

Regular readers of our posts will know how much we champion an omnichannel approach to ecommerce. The pandemic has driven more people to online shopping than ever before. This means your products need to be available on a range of devices (computer, mobile phone etc.). However, the same logic applies to the amount of places consumers are looking for products.

It is no longer enough for a seller or SME to merely have products available on their site. Whether you use a social media platform or an online marketplace, it is vital for you to promote and distribute your products in as many places as possible. Not only does the collaboration between Alibaba and WorldFirst make this easier, they can also give you access to millions of new and distant consumers, giving you the advantage over other UK-based sellers.

If You Are Looking to Expand Your Business, We Can Help

Whether you are planning on joining Alibaba or not, we at J&P have the qualifications and knowledge to help you plan ahead, so please do not hesitate to get in touch should you have any further questions about selling on online marketplaces, or if you need any help with adapting your business to comply with the new post-Brexit legislation. We can get you VAT registered across the EU and can file your returns. You can contact us at, on our social media, or give us a call on 0161 637 1080