Alibaba is the Cave of Riches: “Amazon” of the East,

Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman for Alibaba Group

It is considered to be the only online shop that offers relatively cheap products. The company was founded in Hangzhou, China by a former English teacher, the famous Jack Ma, and 17 other people.

Jack Ma was first introduced to the internet in 1995 during his visit to the United States. While he was here, he realized that there were no websites in China. Seizing this opportunity, he first created a directory of sites in China that was known as Chinapages.com.

A few months later, as he was sitting in a coffee place in San Francisco, he asked a waiter “Do you know who Alibaba is?” To which she replied: “Sure, Open Sesame.” Seeing that a random person could answer that, he decided to go to the streets, and he was amazed by the response. Everybody; Germans, Indians, Chinese…they all knew Alibaba (a polite, smart person who helped people).

The name was easy to pronounce and famous, thus it was the perfect name for a platform for sales in-between companies, a platform that would open up the doors for Chinese products in the international trade which already had over 80 million users.

Today, Alibaba Group hosts a variety of services: eTao, a website which has product price comparisons; Taobao, popularly known as the eBay of China, this platform is for sales among consumers; Alipay, “the PayPal of China”, and AliExpress.

Significant Milestones in the History of Alibaba Groups (Alibaba.com)

1999

  •   After approaching various banking institutions, the company managed to raise $25 million. 1688.comwas also founded during the same year- this became China’s greatest marketplace.

2000

  •   Alibaba Group raised $20 million from an investor group led by SoftBank.
  •   Alibaba Group organized the first West Lake Summit, a gathering of Internet business and thought leaders.

2003

  •   Online shopping website Taobao Marketplace is founded, again in Jack Ma’s apartment.

2004

  •   Alibaba Group raised $816,882 million from several first-tier investors in the most substantial private equity commitment ever in the Chinese Internet sector.
  •   Alibaba Group organized its first Netrepreneur Summit, a gathering of Internet entrepreneurs, and honors the first 10 Netrepreneurs of the Year
  •   Aliwangwang, a personal computer-based instant messaging tool that facilitates text, audio and video communication between buyers and sellers, is launched on Taobao Marketplace.
  •   Alipay, currently a related company of Alibaba Group, is started as a third-party online payment platform.

2005

  •   Alibaba Group formed a strategic partnership with Yahoo! And soon after took over the operations of China Yahoo!

2006

  •   Yipai.com, similar to Taobao, was merged into Alibaba Taobao. Yipai had 7.29% market share in Q3 of 2005.
  •   Alibaba acquired Koubei.com, one of China’s largest online classified listing companies, which was founded by an ex-Alibaba employee

2007

  •   Alibaba Group launched Alimama, an online marketing technology platform.

2008

  •   Taobao Mall (currently known as Tmall), a dedicated platform for third-party brands and retailers, is introduced to complement Taobao Marketplace.
  •   Establishment of R&D institute

2009

  •   Alibaba paid RMB 540 million to acquire Net.can which was the leading primary Internet infrastructure and services provider (web hosting, domain names, etc.).
  •   Formation of Alibaba Cloud happened during the celebrations of Alibaba Group 10th anniversary.

2010

2016

  •   Alibaba Group exceeded RMB3 trillion in FY2016 gross merchandise volume (GMV) on its China retail marketplaces and subsequently, becomes the largest retail economy in the world.
  •   Alibaba Global Leadership Academy (AGLA) program, a talent development program dedicated to fostering future Alibaba global leaders, was launched.
  •   Alibaba Group launched OS’Car, the first YunOS-enabled, mass-produced internet car, in collaboration with SAIC Motor Corp.
  •   The concept of an Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) envisioned by Jack Ma is included in the official communiqué of the G20 summit and gains support from World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevêdo
  •   Alibaba Cloud announced the opening of four new data centers in the Middle East (Dubai), Europe (Frankfurt), Australia (Sydney) and Japan (Tokyo).

2017

  •   Alibaba Group announced plans to establish the first overseas e-hub under the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) initiative together with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)
  •   Tmall World, an effort to serve the 100 million-strong overseas Chinese market worldwide, is officially launched.

 Alibaba Group Subsidiary companies

1. Aliexpress. Launched in 2010, Aliexpress is a B2C platform for Chinese companies that wish to sell their products to the foreign market.

2. South China Morning Post. Media popularity and entertainment were and still are the most followed source of information. Alibaba Group acquired South China Morning Post in 2015 for $266 million as a marketing strategy to gain media popularity and reshape the coverage of what was thought to be a negative portrayal of China to the West.

3. AutoNavi. Alibaba Group acquired AutoNavi, a Chinese mapping and navigation company in 2014. The company was critical in garnering user behaviors, and it provides data to Google and Apple Inc. Today, the AutoNavi app is one of the top apps in China with over 100 million users.

4. Taobao. Founded in 2003, Taobao was created to compete with the activities of eBay in China. eBay Inc. had purchased China’s largest online auction site, Eachnet. To counter the popularity of eBay, Taobao offered free seller listings and new features such as instant messaging, and within two years, it managed to kick eBay out of the market.

5. Alipay. PayPal is one of the world’s largest online transaction sites. Well, China has theirs as well – Alipay!

Founded in 2004, Alipay has over 400 million users today. The company is under Ant Financial Services Group, an Alibaba Group Affiliate. In 2014, it was announced that Alipay had even surpassed PayPal to be the largest digital payment platform with over 65 connections with financial institutions such as Visa and MasterCard.

6. Ali Health Information Technology. This company was established after Alibaba and a private equity firm, Yunfeng, purchased 54% stake in Citic 21CN.

7. Alibaba Pictures Groups. One of the most significant Chinese movie company since 2015 was formed after Alibaba group bought a 60% stake worth $804 million in 2014. The company was initially known as ChinaVIsion before it was renamed to Alibaba Pictures Group.

8. Aliwangwang and Laiwang. Taobao’s growth demanded an instant communication platform where sellers and buyers could easily communicate and in 2004, Aliwangwang, the second largest instant messenger in China was formed.

Later, in 2013, Alibaba formed Laiwang, its messaging service to rival WeChat, the Tencent’s messaging service app.

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