Avnet aims to expand Chinese business with new 1688 store

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On Tuesday, industrial electronics component maker Avnet announced it would be opening an online store on Alibaba’s 1688.com business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platform. The component maker is opening up the new digital storefront to expand its footprint in China. Specifically, the corporation wants to appeal to Internet of Things (IoT) developers by offering a version of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B/B+ that features Alibaba Cloud support.

Avnet’s Interest in the Sino Market

Because of the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, many electronics companies have struggled to sell their wares in the Sino market. As Washington and Beijing have exchanged import taxes, American companies have had to raise their prices in the Asian superpower. However, even with expensive tariffs as a factor, Avnet knows the juice is worth the squeeze.

The reason the chipmaker is working on expanding its Chinese business is the remarkable functionality of the new Raspberry Pi. With a 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A72 quad-core processor, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and up to 4GB of RAM, the device is a quality PC the size of a credit card. Accordingly, emerging Sino developers can use the Model B/B+ PCs to facilitate their application design process affordably.

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Furthermore, thanks to its unique power and size, the Raspberry Pi is an excellent foundation for new industrial IoT devices. Indeed, engineers have previously utilized the machine to create radiofrequency identification-based attendance trackers and warehouse equipment digital to analog converters. China’s maker culture is vast and thriving, and Avnet is smart to position itself as a valued brand within that space.

Why Avnet is Working with Alibaba

It’s worth noting that Avnet currently operates an e-commerce platform in the Sino region. Indeed, the corporation’s online store ships products to 2.1 million clients and 1,400 supplies in 125 countries. But by offering their goods through 1688, the firm has access to a much broader consumer base. Digital Commerce 360 reports the B2B site hosts more than 10 million digital storefronts.

As a result, Alibaba’s platform offers Avnet access to a massive marketplace without the many build-out costs associated with setting up shop into a foreign market. Conversely, the Chinese conglomerate gets to collect hosting and marketing fees from one of the world’s largest component distributors.

Besides, the two brands stand to profit immensely from synergizing their respective products and services. Earlier this week, Alibaba unveiled its first in-house artificial intelligence inference chip. The firm explained its new processor has significantly helped its e-commerce platforms optimize their massive new product indexing tasks. Moreover, the company is also offering its powerful web services to its clients.

As such, developers who buy Avnet’s new Raspberry Pi can unlock its full potential by pairing with Alibaba’s cloud computing. For Chinese engineers and entrepreneurs, the company is essentially selling an enterprise-grade research and development framework in a box. Consequently, the two corporations likely won’t have to utilize a hard sell to attract the business of local makers.