See a bigger picture on China e-commerce market here.

About Alibaba Group (company)

Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA) is a publicly traded Hangzhou-based group of businesses, its main businesses include:

B2B online web portals (, Chinese B2B website

Alibaba online retail e-commerce platforms (C2C marketplace Taobao, B2C & new retail Hema; a shopping search engine

Payment services Alipay (now part of Ant Financial)

Data-centric cloud computing services Aliyun (Alibaba Cloud).

Alibaba is the world’s largest retailer and e-commerce company. And, it is on the list of largest Internet companies and artificial intelligence companies, one of the biggest venture capital firms, and one of the biggest investment corporations in the world.

See the comparison of Alibaba with Amazon or another Chinese e-commerce giant here. Check out 10 charts to know Alibaba Group: China’s E-commerce Empire

Alibaba Company History

Alibaba group started in 1999 when Jack Ma founded the website, a B2B portal to connect Chinese manufacturers with overseas buyers.

On 4 April 1999, Jack Ma and his team of 17 friends and students founded in his Hangzhou apartment.

In October 1999, Alibaba received a US$25 million investment from Goldman Sachs and SoftBank. was expected to improve the domestic e-commerce market and perfect an e-commerce platform for Chinese enterprises, especially SMEs, to help export Chinese products to the global market as well as address World Trade Organization (WTO) challenges.

In 2002, became profitable three years after launch. Ma wanted to improve the global e-commerce system, so from 2003 onward, Alibaba launched Taobao Marketplace, Alipay,, and Lynx.

Taobao later forced eBay out of the Chinese market with its free product listing strategy, with eBay closing its unprofitable China Web unit, though the two companies would break even six years later.

In 2005, Yahoo! invested in Alibaba through a variable interest entity structure, buying a 40% stake in the company for US$1 billion. This would as a result net in US$10 billion in Alibaba’s IPO alone to Yahoo.

In 2010, Alibaba launched, an online retail service made up of mostly small Chinese businesses offering products to international online buyers. It is the most visited E-Commerce platform in Russia.

The Name of The Company

The company’s name came from the character Ali Baba from the Middle Eastern folk tale collection One Thousand and One Nights because of its universal appeal.

Alibaba IPO

Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA and HKEX: 9988) has officially listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) on 19 November 2019.

At closing time on the date of Alibaba IPO – US$25 billion, the world’s highest in history, Alibaba’s market value was US$231 billion. It is one of the top 10 most valuable and is the 59th biggest public company in the world by Global 2000 list.

Before IPO, Alibaba made a lot of strategic investments and acquisitions both domestic and abroad; you can find more on the infographic here.

In January 2018, Alibaba became the second Asian company to break the US$500 billion valuation mark, after its competitor Tencent. As of 2018, Alibaba has the 9th highest global brand valuation.

Other Platforms

In October 2016, Alibaba launched Alitrip, later named Fliggy, an online travel platform that is designed as an online mall for brands such as airline companies and agencies.

In 2017, Alibaba started opening a chain of supermarkets, named Hema.

Alibaba Competitors

In e-commerce and retail, Alibaba Group’s top competitors are JD, Pinduoduo, and Meituan.

In OTA, it (Fliggy) competes with Ctrip, Qunar, eLong.

In cloud computing, its top competitors are Tencent, Baidu, and China Telecom.

Digital payment: WeChat Pay (TenPay)

Alibaba Trends & Insights

Login to your account