They operate their ecosystem as a platform for third parties, and they do not engage in direct sales, compete with their merchants or hold inventory.
Alibaba Group’s Major Businesses
Alibaba Group owns the largest online shopping platform Taobao.com on both PC and mobile. Tmall is a more premium version of Taobao mainly for (international and domestic) brands and retail platforms.
One B2B side, Alibaba runs 1688.com, local wholesale marketplace , and alibaba.com, China’s largest global online wholesale marketplace.
AliExpress is Alibaba’s cross border e-commerce website enabling consumers worldwide to buy direct from Chinese exporters.
Huge Gross Merchandise Volume on Alibaba Marketplaces
Total GMV on Alibaba retail marketpalce reached 270 billion from 255 million active buyers and 8 million active sellers in a twelve-month period ended on 31 March 2014.
There are still huge opportunities in lower-tier cities in China.
Alibaba Group Empire
This charts show key Alibaba marketplaces and services and the core related companies and affiliates.
Alibaba Company Scale and Size
Scale and Size of Alibaba Ecosystem Participants
Buyers and sellers are at the heart of Alibaba ecosystem. Buyers and sellers discover, select and transact with each other on Alibaba platform.
Third-party service providers add value to Alibaba platform through service offerings that make it easier for buyers and sellers to do business. The third-party participants in Alibaba ecosystem include a payment services provider, logistics providers, retail operational partners, marketing affiliates, independent software vendors and various professional service providers.
The interactions between buyers and sellers create network effects in that more merchants attract more consumers, and more consumers attract more merchants.
In addition, Alibaba marketplaces are interconnected in that many buyers and sellers on one marketplace also participate in the activities on our other marketplaces, thereby creating a second-order network effect that further strengthens Alibaba ecosystem.
The nationwide infrastructure
The map above illustrates the nationwide infrastructure managed by Alibaba Group’s 14 strategic delivery partners according to data provided by them as of April 2014.