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Alibaba unveils $2 billion Turkey investment at Erdoğan meeting: report

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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. announced plans to invest $2 billion in Turkey after a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Bloomberg reported.

The head of the Chinese giant, Michael Evans, made the announcement after the meeting in İstanbul on Friday, according to a statement from its Turkish unit Trendyol. He indicated that the company has “confidence in Turkey’s sound economic fundamentals” and has already invested $1.4 billion in the country through Trendyol, Turkey’s biggest e-commerce marketplace.

Evans expressed support for Trendyol’s international expansion plans and underscored that Turkey has the potential to become one of the leading e-export countries, according to the statement. He didn’t provide detailed information about the investment calendar, saying the plan is for “the coming period.” Trendyol Group President Çaglayan Çetin also attended the meeting.

Evans elaborated on the creation of a world-class data center and a logistics center in Ankara as well as a market-leading export operations center at İstanbul Airport.

Trendyol reached a valuation of $16.5 billion in 2021, raising funds from investors including SoftBank Group, General Atlantic, Qatar Investment Authority and Abu Dhabi sovereign fund ADQ. Trendyol said Alibaba has a 76.1 percent stake in the e-commerce operator.

Turkey launched an antitrust probe into Trendyol in 2021. In July Turkey’s top court upheld a law tightening regulation on e-commerce companies, in a blow to the company.

The Constitutional Court said the law, which restricts companies’ advertising spending and use of customer data if their sales exceed given thresholds, was in line with the constitution, rejecting an objection by the main opposition party.

The ruling was meant to help smaller e-commerce firms to compete after rapid growth of the market since the pandemic. Later in July Turkey’s Antitrust Board fined Trendyol 61.3 million lira ($2.3 million), saying it used third-party vendors’ data to give its own retail operations an unfair advantage.

Turkey’s total e-commerce volume rose 109 percent last year to over 800 billion lira, with almost a fifth of all shopping done online, Trade Ministry data show.

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