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One of the largest ecommerce platforms in the world

Alibaba is one of the largest online- and ecommerce businesses in the world, and could be seen as the Amazon of China. The company was founded in 1999 by the former English teacher Jack Ma. The majority of its revenue is conducted through online marketplaces where consumers and merchants can connect, buy and sell from each other. Alibaba operates two of the most visited online platforms in China: Taobao, a C2C marketplace with similarities to eBay, and Tmall, the largest B2C ecommerce marketplace in China.

The company is also expanding into other segments such as cloud computing, digital media, and entertainment. Alibaba is considered as one of the global leaders in terms of reinventing och digitizing retail, logistics and payments. The major business divisions of Alibaba are:

  • Alibaba.com: A B2B ecommerce platform that connects businesses with suppliers and manufacturers around the world. It offers a range of products and services, including online storefronts, payment processing, logistics, and online marketing.

  • Taobao: An online shopping website that operates as a C2C and B2C platform. It offers a range of products including clothes, electronics, and home appliances. Taobao is one of the largest online marketplaces in China.

  • Tmall: An online shopping website that operates as a B2C platform. Tmall offers a range of high-quality, branded products, including clothing, electronics, and home appliances. It is one of the largest ecommerce platforms in China.

  • AliExpress: a global online marketplace that allows small businesses and individuals to sell products to buyers around the world.

  • Alibaba Cloud: The cloud computing division of Alibaba. It offers a range of cloud computing services, including data storage, database management, and cloud security.

  • Ant Group: One of the largest fintech companies in the world, offering a range of financial services, including payment processing, digital banking, and insurance.

  • Cainiao Network: A logistics company that provides end-to-end supply chain solutions to Alibaba's ecommerce platforms. Cainiao Network uses big data and AI technologies to optimize logistics operations and improve delivery times. Cainiao is the second largest logistics player in China behind JD.com’s logistic business, JD Logistics.

Further reading: The Story of Richard Liu Qiangdong and JD.com

Fun fact: Alibaba aspires to be a company that will last for 102 years. Why 102? When the company was founded in 1999, it set a goal to stay in business for over 3 centuries; 1999 + 102 = 2101. This signifies the long-term perspective and commitment to sustainable development.

The Rockstar Founder

Before founding Alibaba, Jack Ma applied for 31 different jobs and was rejected by every single one, the fast food chain KFC (Yum! Brands) being one of them. Ma first understood the potential of the internet during a visit to the U.S when he had his first encounter with a computer. His first search, funny enough, was for beer, and to his surprise there was a lot of information related to beer from many countries, but none from China. This was also the case for general information about China. This was the embryo to Alibaba.

Today, it is fair to state that Ma has shaped the digital era in China like no other. Overall, Jack Ma's influence on China has been significant, both in terms of driving economic growth and shaping the country's technology industry, as well as promoting entrepreneurship and advocating for social causes.

Single's Day Shopping

Single's Day is a gigantic shopping event, occurring every year on the 11th of November, celebrating singles and motivating them to shop. It has grown to be the largest shopping tradition by far for both Alibaba and consumers overall in China. Single’s Day was originally a protest against Valentine's day, which originated at Nanjing University back in the 90s.

Single’s Day is today the largest shopping day in the world. That’s right, it even exceeds Black Friday and Cyber Monday together in shopping volume, and Alibaba is the most popular ecommerce platform to spend the day on. The day is usually celebrated by searching for good deals online together with friends and family.