Alibaba names ex-Goldman exec to head global expansion

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Alibaba has appointed a former top Goldman Sachs executive as president of the group to lead the Chinese e-commerce giant's international expansion and lure top global brands looking to sell their products via the world's second-largest economy.

Michael Evans, a former Goldman Sachs vice chairman, will focus on building partnerships with big brands and retailers in Europe, America and Asia to help them sell on China's massive consumer market. He has been an independent director at Alibaba since its initial public offering in September.

The focus on cross-border commerce comes at a time of increasing competition online in the Chinese markets and increasing appetite among domestic consumers for the latest goods from international brands.

Evans will continue as a management member of the board and report to Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang.

"Globalization is Alibaba Group's most important strategy for the coming decades, and our goal is to help 10 million global businesses and serve 2 billion consumers around the world," Zhang said in a statement.

"We have been laying the foundation for many years and now we need a global team in place with best-in-class talent to bring our vision to fruition."

Alibaba's international expansion strategy has had mixed results. Earlier this year, it sold its U.S. online shopping site called 11 Main, highlighting the struggle in mature markets dominated by the likes of Amazon and eBay.

In developing markets, Alibaba's products have had more success.

Prior to joining Alibaba, Evans spent 20 years at Goldman Sachs in which he served as vice chairman as well as chairman in Asia.