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

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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

  • <a href=”https://www.16best.net/aliexpress/“>AliExpress</a> is launched to enable exporters in China to reach and directly transact with consumers around the world.

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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5 Tips to Make A Great Impression At A Networking Event

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Whether you are just starting a new business or building an existing one, it is important to have the right professional contacts that will help you on your journey. One of the best ways to facilitate these contacts is through the attendance of networking events. Here are some tips to help you build mutually beneficial business connections at these events or any other place you are aiming to meet potential business partners or cultivate new opportunities.

  1. Conduct extensive research

Gather as much information as you can about the attendees of the event. Pay closer attention to the specific people that you intend to be your target audience. This will give you a rough idea of how you can appeal to them. You should also prepare questions that will help you learn about others and hold mutually intriguing conversations that will make it easy for you to share about yourself and your business. Be sure to carry your business cards, they are the fastest way to share information and a good source of contact information.

  1. Be confident

Go up to people whether you know they can be of help to you or not. This will help you gain valuable information on others’ experiences as business owners. It is also a good way to get excellent feedback on your business model and product. Be straightforward about your inexperience and your desire to get help. Honesty will inspire people to engage with you and share advice. Take every opportunity possible to meet new people and attend as many business events as you can.

  1. Listen

When you join a conversation, take a few minutes to pay attention. An effective way to make a good impression is to make a key point that adds to the conversation rather than focusing on yourself and your business. While it may be tempting to get as many words in as possible, it is better to focus on quality than quantity.

  1. Build genuine personal connections

Begin conversations with non-business related topics. This will help you connect with people on a deeper level than simply business. Be willing to share what you are passionate about even when you are at a business event. Once the common ground has been established, then it is possible to build a strong network of friends and experts from different fields that will be happy to give advice whenever asked.

  1. Follow up

It is crucial to do this within a short amount of time; preferably within 48 hours. Should you meet a person that you would like to connect with at a later date, schedule an email that asks how they are doing and offer to schedule another meeting. This is a good way to ensure you keep in touch within the 2-day timeframe without forgetting.

“All in all, networking is about building trust, and giving as much as receiving.”  – Rune Sovndahl, co-founder and CEO of Fantastic Services.

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Understanding Social Media Influencer Marketing

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With the rise of social media sites and apps, more people are looking to their favorite YouTube stars, Instagram personalities and Twitter personalities for their input on different subjects including products to purchase. This has brought about the trending change in consumer trust, where they rely more on the opinions of social media influencers on brands than traditional advertisements.

What is digital influence?

Digital influence is defined by Technopedia as the ability to create an effect, change opinions and behaviors, and drive measurable outcomes online.

Digital influence is the result of three conceptual cornerstones:

  • Reach: How far information will travel across the social continuum.
  • Relevance: Alignment to interests of the moment.
  • Resonance: The ripple effect of information.

Who is an influencer?

The everyday Internet user is subject to a barrage of noise and content. As a result, individual judgment has given way to group judgment, or at least judgment that’s assisted by others online. When an individual contemplates a new purchase such as a cellphone, he or she will often revert to digital sources for recommendations to arrive at a decision.

Therefore, a social media influencer is a user who has demonstrated credibility in a specific industry, has gained the following of a large number of people and has the ability to convince others to act on their recommendations. They are considered to be an authentic and trusted source of advice on purchasing decisions. So much so that marketers and brands are paying attention.

Digital influencers include:

  • Vloggers
  • Bloggers
  • Celebrities
  • Media personalities
  • Socialites
  • Industry experts

Influencer marketing statistics

With interest in influencer marketing increasing every day, a lot of research has been carried out that has produced mind-blowing results. Here are some of them as sourced from digitalmarketinginstitute.com:

  • 86% of women use social media for purchasing advice
  • 70% of teens trust influencers more than traditional celebrities
  • 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations
  • Influencer marketing campaigns earn $6.50 for every dollar spent
  • 57% of fashion and beauty companies engage in influencer marketing
  • Influencer marketing is the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method
  • 67% of marketers promote content with the help of influencers
  • Influencer marketing has surpassed print marketing
  • 60% of consumers have been influenced by social media or blog while shopping at a store
  • 67% of marketers promote content with the help of influencers

Why should you consider using influencers to promote your business?

As social media platforms focus more on user interaction and engagement, content that generates the most comments, shares and stimulates more conversations online does better online. Therefore, as a brand, it is important to come up with ways to encourage people to talk about your product. One way to achieve this is by engaging social media influencers to promote your product or service.

They exert a great influence over online users that should not be underestimated. Whatever they endorse often automatically becomes a trend. Since they come across as being more relatable than most conventional celebrities, they tend to build a sense of credibility and authenticity online. This is automatically transferred to a brand that they choose to partner with.

Using social media influencers is also a great way to reach the younger demographic that tends to mistrust traditional advertising. Research has proven that influencers are helpful when a brand seeks to form meaningful relationships with consumers.

How to do it

The first step when planning a campaign is to conduct extensive research on the influencers that would be most suited to your brand in terms of their target audience and follower profiles. Find out other relevant data about their audience such as age, geography, watch time, gender, etc.

If their audience and content match the message that you want to promote or that you already stand for, then they are a solid marketing tool to consider.

Make sure they fit naturally with your brand and that they would normally use your product. Remember, online users expect authenticity from the influencers.

Check the feedback they get from their followers. Do they ask for more information on what the influencer has posted, only like posts or even post any negative feedback?

Ensure you customize your content to suit each platform you intend to use. For example, Instagram posts should be easily digested; modern and chic. Plan to give the campaign time as you measure its performance and engagement to improve your next one.

Best social media platforms for influencer marketing

  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Conclusion

It is never too late to develop an effective influencer marketing campaign for your brand. The best place to start would be to reach out to the top influencers in your industry and share your product or service. Understanding the proper utilization of influencer marketing will go a long way to increase brand awareness, revenue, and leads.

Should you choose to partner with an influencer to promote your brand, make a wise decision informed by extensive and go from there.

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Wishful Thinking Time Is Over, Become The Next Great Entrepreneur

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There is so much time to execute the great ideas yet most sulk in complaints of lack of this or that, they end up procrastinating.

Have you not heard the phrase; ‘Kama si Sasa, ni Sasa Hivi! Loosely translated as ‘If not now, It is right now!’

Find any group of young people and ask them what their future goals are. Most of them will tell you very nice dreams including and not limited to academic goals, things they want to do for their parents, how they want to be the next prominent business men in Kenya.

They talk about how they will invest in agribusiness, real estate, the transport sector, mobile banking, and logistic services when they get cash in this case the starting capital. They have endless ideas of how to have cash flowing from their multiple streams of income.

If you turn to the same people and ask them the tangible steps they are taking to achieve their dreams, they scratch their heads look into your eyes and say “Sina lakini nikipata kazi mambo itakuwa sawa“.

The alleged ‘lack of money’ has been used as the reason for not investing or becoming entrepreneurs by most young people. Money has been the excuse why most ideas are not being executed.

The youth ought to come out of their complaining zones or the so called wish zone. For instance, if you want to invest in poultry in future, start by owning one chick. This chick goes for around Ksh.200.

The educated youth have forgotten the phrase “A journey of thousand miles begins with single step“. Most of them will complain that they have no access to the uwezo fund or the youth fund put aside by the government but ironically they have not even applied.

They will spend Ksh.2000 to Ksh 3000 on a night out. This money alone is enough to register a group and apply for funds. The Kenyan young people it is time we woke up from the wishing bed. It is time we use the little we have to bring more as we await the so-called better jobs.

It is what you do with what you have that makes you prosperous and successful. Let us stop dreaming! Let us stop using money as an excuse for not starting! Let us use the little we have and make more out of it.

If you want to do rabbit farming, start with a single one. If you want to own a green house, start farming on the little space you have. If you wish to invest in matatu business, start saving now. A motorbike might not be so far away. If you would love to be a tenderpreneur register a company now. If you want to be a politician start talking to people now. Want to be a motivational speaker start by motivating yourself and those around you. If you want to own a boutique in future, start by selling ‘mitumbas’.

No dream is too big to accomplish! Nothing is impossible! Waiting, complaining, day dreaming, and praying alone will not help. We must do something. We must step out of our comfort zones. We must dream big, start small, start now and with what we have. Let us be passionate about the future and most importantly lay our foundations today.

What happens if we do not start now? We start giving up on our dreams; we get into employment and realize the salary is not even enough to start an investment. Years on, a family brings more responsibilities .Energy and ideas start draining away and our entrepreneurship ideas are buried.

Nothing hurts most like a buried dream. We are at our best to make it; it only needs a little aggressiveness, a little sacrifice, a little more passion and the go-getter spirit. I would keep on writing but the bottom line is “our time is now

We have all the resources at hand. Our sharp brains, readily available internet, energy, ideas, technology. Starting small is advantageous because you learn from all mistakes and this will build you to handle bigger investments.

Most youth want to follow the easy route; to own smartphones costing Ksh.15,000 and yet complain there is no capital to start up our businesses. We save our pocket monies so that we can go hiking, swimming, clubbing, dates and yet complain we do not have capital. Most of us are living lives beyond our means and keep dreaming that one day they will become investors. Which investors squander the little they have and keep complaining, how ironical!

Ksh.50 spent on airtime daily in a week sums up to Ksh.350. This money is enough to buy a month old chick at Ksh.250 and 2kgs of feed enough to feed the chick for 2 months. Have we spared some time with the likes of George Wachiuri when we say we want to be successful persons in real estates?

On Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms and apart from getting information we sometimes use these platforms to for the wrong reasons. Why don’t we monetize our social media platforms by say, advertising some products? This is the new way of getting customers. Somebody once said that you either earn from the internet or the internet earns from you.

Why do we find it easier to contribute money to throw a party yet such a challenge to contribute even a lesser amount to invest? Don’t we want to become great millionaires in future? I have not reached where I intend to, but you will agree with me that this is not the right way to go. We the youth of Kenya ought to change our thinking if we have to create wealth for ourselves and future generations.

Let us embrace innovation and get aggressive. We must start somewhere and must utilize what we have. Let us stop wishing and start acting, we must wake up and stop living in dreams lest we die in them.

We must allow ourselves to get dirty, sacrifice somethings and change our mentality. Lastly most importantly if we remain focused, with time we shall achieve our dreams. If we all do these, we will have all the time for all the fun we ever wished for.

It is too early to give up!

 

 

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