Alibaba’s tools for cross border shipping and global sourcing with Yikun Shao
Episode Transcript
DD Spotify DD Apple Podcast

Send us a Text Message.

In this episode, Blythe and Yikun Shao, Head of North America Supply Chain at, discuss how the platform helps small and medium businesses with global sourcing and logistics. Shao highlights Alibaba’s AI tools like language translation, image generation for product design, and logistics marketplace. He also details educational resources on trade compliance, managing cross-border shipping challenges, and navigating customs regulations.



  • “Nearly two thirds of businesses they plan on increasing their reliance on online sourcing, and including those bigger and more established businesses.” – Yikun Shao
  • “Using AI capability can also handle real time inquiries from multiple areas and provide even in some instances provide some industry insights, so that our business buyers and sellers can make more informed decisions.” – Yikun Shao
  • “We recently launched a smart assistant tool to help facilitate RFQ transaction and communication aspects on our platform. One of the functions is real-time language translation when buyers and sellers are communicating through a video chat, it helps provide translation services in real-time to at least 17 different languages. Since this new RFQ feature has been introduced, it has driven a 29% increase in quotes from suppliers for small businesses.” – Yikun Shao



Are you experienced in freight sales or already an independent freight agent? Listen to our Freight Agent Trenches interview series powered by SPI Logistics to hear directly from the company’s agents on how they took the leap and found a home with SPI freight agent program.

Tai TMS is designed to streamline your brokerage operations and propel growth for both FTL and LTL shipment cycles. Book a demo with the Tai team today and tell them Everything is Logistics sent you.

Maximize your website’s performance as a sales tool with Digital Dispatch’s website management.

Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Yikun Shao: 0:05

Some of the key insights that we have gathered include that nearly two-thirds of business is they plan on increasing their reliance on online sourcing, and including those including bigger and more established businesses, and the reason for this increase in their priority for online sourcing is driven by a number of different reasons, and one of the biggest reasons is the availability of information.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:42

Welcome into another episode of Everything is Logistics a podcast for the thinkers in freight. We are proudly presented by Everything is Logistics a podcast for the thinkers in freight. We are proudly presented by SPI Logistics and I am your host, Blythe Brumleve. On today's show, I am happy to welcome in Yikun Shao, who is the head of North American supply chain for the e-commerce giant Alibaba, and we're going to be talking about how the flow of goods, especially in e-commerce, is evolving all around the world. So, Yikun, welcome to the show.

Yikun Shao: 1:07

Thank you, Blythe. It's a pleasure to be here and thank you for inviting me.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:10

Absolutely Now. Before we get into your role of what you're doing in the day-to-day life today, I'm curious as to how you got into supply chain and logistics. Did you go to school for it? Did you have a job early on? Was it family business? Tell us the story behind that.

Yikun Shao: 1:26

Yes, sure, I actually am originally coming from China. I was in the customs and trade consulting area for about 15 years working with a professional service firm, or specifically Pricewaterhouse Coopers, in its APAC as well as North America practice for about 15 years before joining Alibaba. So I would say, even though my, you know, focus area was in customs and trade, that's part of the supply chain broadly. So I've always been working in the supply chain area and, yes, I came to the United States to study business and logistics and operations management was also my focus area at that time.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:11

So you're one of the rare ones that actually went to school for it, studied for it and then worked in the field, which is, you know, quite rare in, you know, with other people that I talked to, because they're, you know, maybe a family member was in it or they just kind of fell into it. So you're, you're one of the rare ones to go to school for it, study for it, actually work in your field. So that's cool to know. What about? How did you make the decision to join Alibaba?

Yikun Shao: 2:35

Sure, Um, actually, uh, I joined Alibaba about three and a half years ago Uh, it was uh, towards the beginning of the pandemic and at that time, I had personally witnessed a lot of small to medium-sized business struggle because of the disruptions and the impact from the pandemic. And at that time, as I was doing a lot of research in this space, I found out and genuinely felt that Alibaba is, you know, emerged as a genuine business ally for those small business and medium-sized businesses. And, you know, I think it was a good way to help them because we provide Alibaba at that time, has always been providing the digital infrastructure for businesses to connect online and to trade online. So, you know, after the pandemic, it really helped a lot of small businesses embrace e-commerce and with the goal towards, you know, enhancing their operations and process efficiency, as well as to widening their sales channels globally. And I would say that it's a very big trigger of my move to Alibaba, because I want to be part of that.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:57

And so when you joined the company, especially at the time that you were joining the company, it was just this sort of explosion in e-commerce activity. So what did, I guess, sort of the landscape look like when you first joined the company and then how has it kind of settled into this new normal that we're all in now?

Yikun Shao: 4:18

Oh yes, it's a very long and exciting journey. I would say yes. First of all, the disruption is the biggest keyword everyone has been talking about for the past few years. I mean, in the past, a lot of businesses, including established businesses, were looking for cost-saving opportunities both in the trade and cross-border shipping area as one of their business priorities. But after the pandemic hit, I generally see seeing that a lot of the focus has been switched from not necessarily the lowest cost but to resilience. So how do you manage any potential impacts from those disruptions in your supply chain and how do you not only establish but also execute in a contingency plan when there is any disruptions that affect your business? So that is something.

Yikun Shao: 5:18

When I first joined Alibaba from a customs and trade, cross-border trade as well as a shipping perspective we were very focused on developing online solutions to help our customers manage these risks, as well as set up contingency plans. So I wouldn't say it's easy, but we are one of the first in this space to really explore and understand the customer's pain points at that time and to really focus on that mindset to develop any solutions or services in these areas to help them. Not only, you know, being able to find a supplier from overseas or from domestic markets to you know, for their product supplies, but also how do we fulfill those orders, those online orders through our platform in an efficient and secure manner, has evolved quite a bit in the last few years, but I still think there are lingering impacts from the pandemic, as well as new disruptions created by multiple factors, including some geopolitical tensions in certain regions. So we feel that what we have developed and been offering and continue to explore and develop are meaningful tools to help facilitate our customers' businesses.

Blythe Brumleve: 6:50

What were some of those examples of you know challenges that some of these you know, I guess customers of yours that were experiencing during that timeframe? Was it, you know, just sourcing or maybe diversification of sourcing? What were some of those challenges and maybe that they're still facing today?

Yikun Shao: 7:08

Yes, from a broader supply chain perspective, you're absolutely right. Finding suppliers you know in different markets or for different markets is a constant challenge, and being able to not only identify but validate what the potential or candidate supplier is able to provide has been a challenge for a lot of business buyers, especially in the United States, and that risk and impact has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Because of the physical separation, people were not able to travel to actually go on site to see those suppliers, and that's when we at adibaba. com, as a marketplace, was in a unique and good position to help with. For example, we have, you know, supplier verification programs, we have payment protection programs, we have digital showrooms, because Alibaba. com, overall, is, you can consider us as an online trade show that opens 24-7, all year long, so you can always come on site, site and be able to gather the information and to vet much of the information that you are being provided when you come to selecting a product supplier, selecting a product or customize a product to your specification. So we have always been in this space and performing and offering these kind of functions from our platform. But also, again back to the supply chain perspective, some of the biggest pain points we have seen and we have heard at Alibaba. com, we always do a lot of surveys to help us get close to buyer pain points and we learned from many of those surveys that during the pandemic some of the biggest challenges were, first of all, soaring costs as I'm sure you're very aware of everyone, is that the shipping costs at that time, especially on the ocean front, really soared a lot.

Yikun Shao: 9:29

And reliability being able to see where your shipment is, how long it takes, or being able to stick to the schedule that your shipment is due to arrive is very critical for business planning and for business and sales activities. And that's another of the major concerns. And last but not the least, there was a lack of capacity or space, especially for our customers, who tends to be, again, smaller to medium-sized businesses. Sometimes a lot of those are owner-operated businesses, one-man shop. They don't necessarily have the skill to negotiate for, for example, warehousing space or other types of capacity for shipping purposes. So from a supply chain and shipping perspective, those are some of the biggest challenges we saw and that's what drove us at Alibaba. com Logistics to develop solutions and I can give a number of examples later to help tackle these specific pain points In the current space.

Yikun Shao: 10:34

Even though the situation has improved quite a bit from the pandemic years, it still, as I said, has lingering impacts years. It still, as I said, has lingering impacts and in some instances actually, we find business buyers' mindset and approach when they are sourcing from overseas have changed as a result of the pandemic impact as well, which is not necessarily a bad thing because it gives them some. You know. For example, during the pandemic, because of those shipping issues, they tend to, or they attempted first and then became more comfortable taking control in terms of arranging for shipping on their own instead of relying on the product supplier to do that, and in those instances it actually gives them more visibility into their shipment, more control over the pricing that they're getting. So those help these businesses improve in their efficiency and cost management as well, and so we have tools to provide these types of solutions and services for those customers who are looking to do that and manage it by themselves.

Blythe Brumleve: 11:45

That's super interesting because you know for, like our grandparents say, for example, that were never comfortable ordering things, you know online, for most grandparents weren't comfortable ordering things online, and then the pandemic happens and suddenly they have to learn how to shop online, and so that's interesting that now business owners, it forced them to learn new skills and learn you know just new ways to manage their own business, and so that's interesting that now business owners, it forced them to learn new skills and learn you know just new ways to manage their own business, and so they can better run it in a variety of ways. Are you in freight sales with a book of business looking for a new home? Or perhaps you're a freight agent in need of a better partnership? These are the kinds of conversations we're exploring in our podcast interview series called the Freight Agent Trenches sponsored by SPI Logistics.

Blythe Brumleve: 12:29

Now I can tell you all day that SPI is one of the most successful logistics firms in North America, who helps their agents with back office operations such as admin, finance, it and sales. But I would much rather you hear it directly from SPI's freight agents themselves. And what better way to do that than by listening to the experienced freight agents tell their stories behind the how and the why they joined SPI. Hit the freight agent link in our show notes to listen to these conversations or, if you're ready to make the jump, visit spi3plcom. I'm curious as to what is the typical. I mean, I know you have so many people that use the Alibaba platform, but what is it? What is a typical customer look like? That's using the platform and trying to find suppliers. You know what does that look like to you know be a business owner and to log into Alibaba and start using the platform.

Yikun Shao: 13:24

Sure, sure, I would say. Actually, you're right, there is no one typical profile of our customers because they vary quite significantly, even though they generally fall under the small to medium-sized business owners and business shops as our business customers. But they really vary and I would say that we have, you know, I wouldn't say I would say we have a relatively low bar for people to be able to use our platform to source from overseas. You can. The minimum order quantity on our platform for for many products are not a very large amount. So a business of any size can come to find the products that they are looking for or to be connected with a supplier to customize or to create any types of products that they would like to get. You know that they would like to get and you know.

Yikun Shao: 14:29

In terms of the types of business, again, it ranges from retailers, both online and offline retailers, to wholesalers and sometimes manufacturers as well, who are just looking for intermediate products for their manufacturing purposes. So it really is not a one-size-fits-all, and we also have different level of support and services as well as solutions that are oriented for different types of buyers. But, like I said, the bottom line is we're trying to meet the needs of all businesses of different sizes, even though they are. They may be just starting up in one man shop and trying to do some pilot product creation and sales.

Blythe Brumleve: 15:12

So, say, I'm a user on the platform and I find some suppliers that I really like that I want to communicate with. Is that, do I do all of the communication within the Alibaba platform and then, you know, coordinate the shipment within Alibaba, or am I still responsible for finding, you know, my own, you know, maybe, warehouse storage, you know cross-border shipping, which is, I know, something that you specialize in as well, or is Alibaba helping in that entire process? Or, you know, is it just you know, for sourcing related materials?

Yikun Shao: 15:44

yes, absolutely, uh the um? The answer it is you can not only, um, you know, do everything, like you mentioned, uh, through our platform. It is actually what we encourage our customers to do, especially they when they are, you know, initiating a new business relationship with an overseas business partner, because on our platform, we have different programs, as I mentioned earlier, including payment protection and also fulfillment services that they can use and, to the extent they keep all the communications and transactions, including transaction not only for products, but also for services like logistics, cross-border shipping services or warehousing services On our platform. We have a track record of everything, of all the communications, and we, as a platform, would be able to validate and try to help resolve any issues that may potentially, you know, arise. So it is certainly something that we encourage our customers to do, and I have some specific examples in terms of the, you know, programs that we offer.

Yikun Shao: 17:00

But, at the same time, we are not binding our business users to use any types of services, either on or off our platform.

Yikun Shao: 17:06

They still have all the liberty to do everything on their own, although in those cases the risk may be higher. But even within our platform, for example, for logistics, cross-border shipping solutions. We are not binding any customer to any specific logistics provider. I'll give you one example we have a logistics marketplace tool that we launched about 10 months ago, last July, and that marketplace you can consider it as a marketplace within a marketplace. Specifically, it's a freight marketplace. So we have, you know, between 400 and 500 logistics providers already onboarded onto that marketplace and our customers can type in their shipping requirements and, on that basis, they can search for any logistic solutions from one of those or multiple of those logistics providers, and they are still at full liberty to choose whatever provider they would like to go with. We are really trying to empower our customers to have the opportunity to look for, to identify and to transact for the best product and solutions that they would like to get.

Blythe Brumleve: 18:33

That's super interesting because the fact that you still give them the freedom to pick their own logistics providers instead of maybe some other alternatives that would require you to package it all and bundle it all together. Now I guess sort of the movement, especially in North America, the shift towards nearshoring and having increased trade with Mexico, for example, which I think Mexico is now the number one trade partner within the United States. How are you helping companies sort of navigate those market fluctuations like that, when they might just be focused on running their business? They're not paying attention to all of these other sort of outside trends. How are you helping them, with Alibaba, stay on top of some of those things that are going on?

Yikun Shao: 19:21

Yes, that's a very good question and that's absolutely right that we are. From a supply chain and fulfillment perspective, what we are really trying to do is giving the customers the options, as many options as possible, so that they can identify what works best for them. So that they can identify what works best for them. So, in your example, we would like to, of course, free up their time so that they can focus on their most core activities and sales activities. But, in terms of fulfillment, like I said, the example I gave the hundreds of service providers that we have on our platform providing different types of business services to those customers.

Yikun Shao: 20:10

They have capabilities not for one single market. They have delivery or shipping capability into many global jurisdictions and for those we are actually expanding, still working on expanding the shipping coverage globally. But even now, after 10 months since we launched this new marketplace, we already support shipping to over 46 global destinations, of course, including Mexico, so our customers can really find suppliers that are capable of meeting their logistics needs, and we're still working actively towards expanding that scope towards expanding that scope.

Blythe Brumleve: 21:04

And now, when you're dealing with sort of cross-border shipments in the 46 countries that you just mentioned, there's so many different moving parts with you know the compliance level for you know various different countries. Is Alibaba helping with you know compliance with those different trade regulations that go on in each country.

Yikun Shao: 21:21

Yes, we at Alibaba. com certainly focus very much on compliance, especially when it comes to import exports, and we understand that it is not a very easy process to navigate through and from my past background and experience I know how complicated it could be, especially for less experienced traders or businesses be for, especially for less experienced traders or businesses. So we do have, from a number of angles. First of all, the providers I mentioned, including shipping providers that I mentioned, that are onboarded our marketplace and onboard our platform. We have a very strict admission criteria and process to make sure that we pre-vet their qualifications and certifications in different areas, including, in many instances, import-export related customs affairs. So when our buyers choose to use them, they can tap into their expertise in the local market to either advise or help with customs clearance processes, and those are from an import perspective but also on an export perspective.

Yikun Shao: 22:31

For example, when goods are, you know, when a customer choose to purchase goods or procure goods from China, from a China export perspective, we also have a very comprehensive platform or tool called OneTouch that helps with that Chinese export processes. And locally there's also VAT refund issues and there's also foreign remittance or foreign exchange management issues. So we strive to provide the digital tools to help our customers manage these risks and ensure they are trading in a compliant manner, and, on the other hand, we also have created a lot of user educational materials. I'm also actually responsible for creating professional logistics, cross-border shipping, as well as trade and customs related contents that we publish on our platform, not just for our Alibaba. com customers, but anyone who's engaged in international trade can come to learn and to gather information about specific country import-export information, as well as more general and in-depth, broader supply chain contents.

Blythe Brumleve: 23:58

Now I imagine, with smaller, medium-sized businesses and especially working with other countries, that there's sometimes there could be communication issues. Obviously, geopolitical issues tend to rise at times. How do you help your customers navigate some of those communication hurdles that go on?

Yikun Shao: 24:18

Yes, for sure. Actually, that communication happens a lot between buyers and sellers on our platform and, like you said, there may be country specific issues, but the biggest challenge we all know can be communication issues. Right always stands ready to support if there are any communication hurdles, but we have also leveraged some technological capability to help overcome that communication hurdle, including, for example, from a language perspective. We recently launched not so recently, but for more than a year now, I believe recently, but for more than a year now, I believe our AI or smart assistant tool. That is a multifaceted tool to help facilitate the transaction and communication aspects on our platform and one of the functions, or pretty basic function, is real-time language translation, including when you know buyers and sellers are communicating through a video chat.

Yikun Shao: 25:29

We have that tool to help provide translation services real-time in at least 17 different languages, so you know for them to be able to get on the same page. So you know for them to be able to get on the same page and because oftentimes, either the buyer or the seller would have a lot of local knowledge and they know what especially more experienced traders they know what needs to be done in order to ensure there's no hiccups at border crossing. I think that's one example of how we help them facilitate those communication approach and also make sure that there is no misunderstanding and is conducted in an effective manner. But bottom line, as I said, if there are issues or any inquiries in advance, our team stands ready to support. But also the smart assistant tool I just mentioned can also handle, using AI capability, can also handle real-time inquiries. That's a new function that's coming to this tool. They can handle general inquiries from multiple areas and provide even in some instances provide some industry insights so that our business, buyers and sellers can make more informed decisions.

Blythe Brumleve: 26:50

Brokering success demands a battle-ready strategy. Tai TMS equips freight brokers with the ultimate battle station for conquering a tough market. With Tai, brokers gain access to a comprehensive platform where rate intelligence and quote history converge on a single screen. It's not just a page, it's a strategic command center designed to help brokers win. Tye equips your team with all of the data they need to negotiate with confidence and allows them to communicate directly with carriers and customers from a simple control base. Revolutionize the way your brokers perform by giving them a competitive advantage with TIE TMS. For more info, go to tai-softwarecom backslash battle stations, and we also have a link for you in the show notes to sign up for a demo. So it sounds like there's a lot of opportunity as far as AI large language models are concerned, especially helping with customer service language translation, as you mentioned, which is, I think, going to probably be the biggest benefit to society when it comes to AI. Are there any other uses of AI that's going on with the platform, maybe coming soon or currently in development right now?

Yikun Shao: 27:58

Sure, sure, yeah, in addition to the two functions I mentioned, actually, I think when we are discussing the impact of AI in the context of business and trade, we really at Alibaba. com, we really consider its multifaceted applications to again improve productivity and efficiency and efficiency. So I think its capability to automate a lot of repetitive tasks and to analyze vast amounts of data is really at the core of it, and I think one of our key missions when utilizing AI is to help improve the efficiency, security and productivity. So some other functions include our smart assistant tool. It provides smart or upgraded image generation function, so you can not only search for a specific product on our platform using an existing image, but you can use this tool to generate. It's a generative AI so you can generate images based on what you envision with the product oh, interesting, yes, and you can incorporate that into the RFQ process that you can use to look for different quotes from different suppliers.

Yikun Shao: 29:28

So I think that is a very important function and we have seen a lot of good results from customers using that tool. I think the numbers I can share is ever since this new RFQ feature has been introduced, it has driven a 29% increase in quotes from suppliers for small businesses who have used it. But on the other hand, our other business suppliers or product suppliers too, have seen a 21% increase in buyer responses. So that really has increased the efficiency and effectiveness of the RFQ tool. So I think that's another example, yes, but I'm sure there's more functions to come.

Blythe Brumleve: 30:19

It's definitely. It's one of those spaces that's evolving rapidly, but the light bulbs were going off, as you were mentioning to come. It's definitely. It's one of those spaces that's evolving rapidly, but I that the light bulbs were going off. As you were mentioning that you could use AI to generate images and then help find suppliers that can make that image and what you envision, I think that that is such a helpful tool, especially for small business owners that are wearing a ton of hats and, you know, maybe they don't have that skillset to draw up an architectural design or, you know, a CAD design or something like that. So I think that that is a really neat enhancement to small business owners out there and medium-sized business owners. You mentioned earlier about surveying your audience regularly.

Yikun Shao: 31:04

I'm curious as to what's been, as you survey the audience regularly are there any surprising insights or findings that you've had after surveying them? I wouldn't say anything that's particularly surprising because maybe from our position, we are very focused, and constantly focused, on understanding those customer needs, but I can share some data with you just to outline the landscape for small businesses. I think in some of the recent surveys we have conducted towards businesses, business owners and small businesses, some of the key insights that we have gathered include that nearly two-thirds of businesses they plan on increasing their reliance on online sourcing those including bigger and more established businesses and the reason for this increase in their priority for online sourcing, you know are, is driven by a number of different reasons, and one of the biggest reason is the availability of information, because, um, you know, uh, they can find a more abundant or larger amount of information available throughout the online sourcing process. So that's why, uh, 31 percent of the response, uh responses we received indicate that that's one of the big reasons that they are looking more towards online sourcing. The second one about 29% of business owners said the speed in which the products that they order and being delivered online via online sourcing is quicker. That's another key factor that drives this trend. And the next thing you know relates to visibility. So 28% of the respondents said that the ability to actually track their delivery status and their shipment is a key point in adopting online sourcing strategies, when compared to when they are ordering things offline. So that is one trend, or recent trends, that we have been seeing.

Yikun Shao: 33:19

And, when it comes to cross-border sourcing, there are also a number of key reasons that they are looking to utilizing this strategy. You know the top reasons, for which include again, I think it's no surprise that the most respondents indicate that they would like to source from overseas because the price is more, pricing is more competitive and, secondly, the broad range or spectrum of products that they can get is the second biggest reason that they are looking to source from overseas. And in terms of where businesses are sourcing from, according to our understanding and data, a survey data looks like, you know, maybe around half or close to half of the products are sourced more from China, but you know Canada, the United Kingdom, they both, you know they second that, each representing about 36% in our yeah, business customers overseas sourcing, followed by EU, which stands for about 20% of overseas sourcing for those business customers.

Blythe Brumleve: 34:33

Now, when someone joins, or a business owner joins, alibaba and they're interested in expanding their procurement operations or sourcing from a variety of manufacturers, what are some of the common challenges or mistakes that they face at first, that they could avoid?

Yikun Shao: 34:54

Yes, that's another great question, I think, because those businesses have all you know, usually they have already succeeded in their local market before they are planning or undertaking an endeavor to expand overseas. Some of the common mistakes I think I have seen include, first, really not understanding the question, the problem that they are solving. They assume it's the same problem that they are solving or their product is solving In overseas markets. It would be the same as their local market. So that is something that I think that assumption tends to be a bit risky. So you really need to understand the market conditions, the consumer behavior, before you make that type of assumptions. So that's one common mistake that I think, when it comes to expanding businesses overseas, that especially less experienced businesses may make. And secondly, also not understanding the hurdles in local countries, including or most notably, like you said earlier, that involves the hurdles that relates to import-export or cross-border movement.

Yikun Shao: 36:20

There are a lot of regulatory challenges, including product registration requirements, marketing requirements. Including product registration requirements, marketing requirements those local business may be already very familiar in the United States, for example. But for good or for bad, the United States has one of the most transparent systems and a regulatory framework that you can more easily get a full grasp on, versus in many overseas jurisdictions it may not be as transparent or, as you know, setting the stone in the books. So you know, I've also seen companies underestimating the challenges from moving products into a different country or meeting local requirements for product compliance or for trade compliance reasons. That may also really create, you know, that may really stop the show, honestly. So those are some of the challenges that we've seen smaller businesses encounter and that's also why I think, even as I mentioned, from a content perspective, we are constantly creating not I wouldn't say educational, but informative contents for our customers to help them better equipped with local knowledge.

Blythe Brumleve: 37:41

You mentioned earlier about the different logistics solutions that you're helping the logistics marketplace that you have on Alibaba. I'm curious is it all modes of logistics? Is it air and sea and land? Is it all of those things combined?

Yikun Shao: 38:01

Yes, overall we cover everything, but in terms of the marketplace alone, we are currently covering air and sorry, we are currently covering ocean freight and what we call multimodal, so ocean plus express or ocean plus trucking. We are also actively working on expanding that to air. Within our logistics infrastructure and network at Alibaba. com, we do provide all types of services, including, as I mentioned at the beginning, from end to end, including air, air freight or air express, and really from origin, first mile export related, and then international freight and, you know, import and last mile delivery services. Those are oriented at different types of products, but we do have the capability to cover all modes of transportation, although for the marketplace as a standalone product or service, it currently supports Ocean and door-to-door express services.

Blythe Brumleve: 39:15

That's super. I mean, it really is. It really helps that these small business, small to medium-sized business owners that are all across the world. I think being able to ease the doing business together is just better for the doing business together is is just better for the globe, it's better for humanity, it's better for geopolitical issues, it's it's just good overall to you know, have friends across the world that you can be able to trade with and do business with and and learn from each other. Um, so I I think it's a, you know, a fascinating story. Is there anything else that you think is important to mention about Alibaba that we haven't already talked about?

Yikun Shao: 39:53

I think I've mentioned all the main missions that we have here at alibaba. com, or even as a group. We always focus on making it easy to do business anywhere and nowadays, using the examples I gave, we are more and more focused on digital infrastructure and intelligent capability to empower our business customers and, like I said, we serve businesses of all sizes. We serve businesses of all sizes, so we yeah back to my point at the beginning. We really want to be a genuine business ally to help our customers grow and Blythe. I really would like to thank you for your last comment, because what you said is exactly our goal here at Alibaba. com. I know it is an ongoing endeavor and will never be done, and we actually constantly challenge ourselves to make sure that we are staying very close to our customers' needs. So we'll continue to do that, but I would love to use your platform to let people know that we have a lot of resources on our platform that you can use to empower yourself and to help you foster global sourcing relations.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:20

Absolutely. I love what you said there because as you were talking, you had my mind sort of going through the wheels of motion where I could go and I could take, you know, some of the products that I've been thinking about developing, and maybe I can go and use Alibaba to help me create those products as well. And, you know, start my own little empire over here.

Yikun Shao: 41:39

Use your wildest imagination and utilize our tool to create new products. Yeah, that's what we would love to see.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:47

Well now I will be sure to link to Alibaba in the show notes. Is there any other place where you would like folks to get in touch with you if they're interested? You know, maybe your LinkedIn profile or you know some other ways to get in touch with you.

Yikun Shao: 42:01

Yes, please. You can easily find me on LinkedIn and I will share with you my LinkedIn link so you can share with your audience. If anyone has any questions or would like to have an offline conversation, I would love to do that.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:16

Absolutely. Thank you so much for your time and your perspective that this was a good conversation.

Yikun Shao: 42:20

Absolutely. It's really a pleasure talking to you, Blythe.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:23

Absolutely, thank you.

Yikun Shao: 42:25

Thank you.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:29

I hope you enjoyed this episode of Everything is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. Subscribe to the show, sign up for our newsletter and follow our socials over at everythingislogisticscom. And in addition to the podcast, I also wanted to let y'all know about another company I operate, and that's Digital Dispatch, where we help you build a better website. Now, a lot of the times, we hand this task of building a new website or refreshing a current one off to a coworker's child, a neighbor down the street or a stranger around the world, where you probably spend more time explaining the freight industry than it takes to actually build the dang website. Well, that doesn't happen at Digital Dispatch.

Blythe Brumleve: 43:13

We've been building online since 2009, but we're also early adopters of AI, automation and other website tactics that help your company to be a central place to pull in all of your social media posts, recruit new employees and give potential customers a glimpse into how you operate your business. Our new website builds start as low as $1,500, along with ongoing website management, maintenance and updates starting at $90 a month, plus some bonus, freight marketing and sales content similar to what you hear on the podcast. You can watch a quick explainer video over on digitaldispatchio. Just check out the pricing page once you arrive and you can see how we can build your digital ecosystem on a strong foundation. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'll see you all real soon and go Jags you.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.