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Alibaba Group, Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit Announce the E-Marco Polo Initiative to Support "Made in Italy"

Export to China via Alibaba Group's Tmall Global Solution for Small and Medium-Sized Italian Enterprises

Tmall Global, an overseas platform and an extension of Alibaba Group's B2C Tmall business in China, Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit, the two top Italian banks, today announced together the "E-Marco Polo" initiative to support Italian companies in entering the Chinese market through Tmall Global to promote Italian goods that are "Made in Italy". This initiative was followed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Alibaba Group and the Italian government last year in June 2014.


The E-Marco Polo project, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the Italian government, aims at facilitating the entrance process of the best-in-class "Made in Italy" products to be sold on Tmall Global, the premier platform for overseas brands and retailers to reach hundreds of millions Chinese consumers without the need for physical operations in China. This is a significant effort in creating an easy-access end-to-end solution between Italy and China to promote small and medium  Italian enterprises (SMEs) to bring in "Made in Italy" goods from the fashion, food & beverage, beauty, and kids sectors.


In order to promote Italian enterprises and their premium goods to Chinese consumers, Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit will establish a storefront on Tmall Global in the near future in providing Chinese consumers the direct access of selected Italian brands through cross-border e-commerce. This enables a solution for Italian brands outside of China to be in reach of Chinese consumers.


"We are very excited to introduce more premium Italian brands to Chinese shoppers through our B2C platforms," said Maggie Wu, Head of Tmall Global. "Tmall Global provides an innovative cross-border solution for overseas brands and is delighted to be working with Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit. Through the cooperation, we believe Tmall Global can help Italian companies to enter the Chinese market and broadening the variety of goods, reaching hundreds of millions Chinese consumers directly."


"The Chinese market has surpassed the US in terms of total retail sales via online channel*," declared Paolo Fiorentino, Chief Operating Officer of UniCredit. "And the online purchase of foreign goods showed a double digit growth rate over the last year. For our companies, it is an extremely important market and this initiative aims at supporting them in the entrance or increase of their market share, if already present in China. After all, our companies dominate as best-in-class in the clothing, beauty, food & beverage sectors and with a partner like Alibaba we can offer support and a platform to help them on their path to internationalisation."


"We believe that this agreement is particularly important in the medium and long term for the commercial potential it can offer to Italian SMEs, given the institutional support and synergies with the main banks in the country," said Stefano Barrese, responsible for Sales and Marketing Area at Intesa Sanpaolo. "We consider fundamental to be able to cooperate with a strong partner like Alibaba to operate securely and efficiently in markets of great potential such as China. Moreover, the initiative reinforces the positioning of Intesa Sanpaolo in the e-commerce sector in which the bank has been investing for some time with much conviction."


* (About $ 287billions in China vs. $263billions in USA in 2013 - Source: Kantar Retail Analysis)




March 20, 2015, Hong Kong/Milan


About Tmall Global

Launched in February 2014, Tmall Global ( is an overseas platform and an extension of Alibaba Group's B2C Tmall business which enables overseas merchants to enter China's online retail market. Merchants can join Tmall Global using the business licenses of their home country or region and conduct businesses from overseas without the need for physical operations within China. International brands on Tmall Global benefit from the exposure to the hundreds of millions of visitors on Taobao Marketplace and and also enables Chinese consumers to have access to a variety of branded products sourced and fulfilled from overseas countries outside of China.