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Alibaba emerges as the platform of choice for foreign sellers

Japanese cosmetics makers gear China strategy toward online sites

Companies in and outside China are scrambling to establish a presence on Alibaba's Tmall online shopping site. (Photo by Taro Yokosawa)

TOKYO -- As Alibaba Group Holding expands its e-commerce empire, foreign companies offering cosmetics and other products are changing course in China, increasingly selling online rather than at physical stores.

Western companies that took an early lead in building bricks-and-mortar sales networks in China are struggling to cope with the changing landscape. Latecomers, namely Japanese companies, are gaining ground fast, using Alibaba's online sites as their platform of choice.  

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