Image taken on Aug. 25, 2017 shows a person checking China's AliExpress website at an office of Chile's postal service Correos in the city of Santiago, capital of Chile. Online retailer AliExpress has emerged as the leading source of exposure for Chinese businesses looking to sell their products to Chilean consumers, Katherine Cid, operations manager at Chile's state-run postal service Correos, told Xinhua in an interview. AliExpress consolidated its top spot this year thanks to its partnership with Correos, according to Cid. The Chinese company is an online marketplace owned and operated by Alibaba, the world's largest retailer. (Xinhua/Jorge Villegas)
by Javier Ureta
SANTIAGO, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- Online retailer AliExpress has emerged as the leading source of exposure for Chinese businesses looking to sell their products to Chilean consumers, Katherine Cid, operations manager at Chile's state-run postal service Correos, told Xinhua in an interview.
AliExpress consolidated its top spot this year thanks to its partnership with Correos, according to Cid. The Chinese company is an online marketplace owned and operated by Alibaba, the world's largest retailer.
"I think the best course for Chinese brands that want to expand their horizons is to follow this alliance with AliExpress. In 2014, four million purchases arrived from Asia, in 2015, 10 million, and this year, we expect 17 million packages," she said, whose department manages the AliExpress website for Chile.
"These massive purchases are nothing less than proof that we are becoming familiar with Chinese brands, which offer products that are in good quality and very reasonably priced," said Cid.
Correos and AliExpress agreed to work together to reach Chilean consumers two years ago.
"There's no better way to promote a brand. Our studies show that 50 percent of packages delivered in Chile arrive from abroad, and the Asian region plays an essential role in this expansion," the Chilean manager said.
Some 70 percent of Chileans have access to the Internet, via their smartphones, computers or laptops, a figure that aids online retailers like AliExpress.
"Increasingly people make their purchases online, that's why we believe AliExpress is such a good bet," said Cid.
Correos is also striving to resolve some of the biggest complaints that online shoppers have, mainly the amount of time they have to wait for a package.
"We have taken a series of steps to shorten the operational chain and delivery time. AliExpress' own people have told us that's one of the things clients value most," said Cid.
Those steps include arrangements to warehouse some Chinese-made goods in Chile in advance, so they can be shipped faster.
"We are now at a stage where some of the products on the AliExpress website are no longer in China, but already in Chile, so they will take less time," she told Xinhua.
While delivery periods vary depending on the item, an average purchase of between 7 and 30 U.S. dollars can take between 25 to 30 days to arrive from China.
Correos is even helping to promote key Chinese brands with great sales potential, such as Li-Ning sneakers, popularized by the NBA's Dwayne Wade and Spain's basketball team, by importing them from China and showcasing them at its busiest branches.
"At this moment, it's not a very well-known brand in Chile, but we have installed display cases at two branches in downtown Santiago that get a lot of foot traffic. They are going to gradually help brand placement," said Cid.
The display cases were installed in August, and the plan is to expand them to other parts of the country.
"The important thing about marketing these products is that it gives people a chance to see and touch the shoes, and realize they are well made, well priced and also pretty," she added.
AliExpress is one of the world's biggest online retailers, with its mother company, Alibaba, posting a record sales of 465.9 billion U.S. dollars in the fiscal year of 2016, according to its official statistics.
Correos' mail and package delivery service reaches an estimated 18 million Chilean people through a network of 255 branches across the country, from Arica in the north to Punta Arenas in the south.