Alibaba Group was founded in 1999 by 18 people led by Jack Ma, a former English teacher from Hangzhou, China. They started the company to champion small businesses, in the belief that the Internet would level the playing field by enabling small enterprises to leverage innovation and technology to grow and compete more effectively in the domestic and global economies.
With the mission “to make it easy to do business anywhere,” Alibaba Group provides the fundamental technology infrastructure and marketing reach to help merchants, brands and other businesses that provide products, services and digital content to leverage the power of the Internet to engage with their users and customers. Its businesses are comprised of core commerce, cloud computing, mobile media and entertainment, and other innovation initiatives. Through investee affiliates, it also participate in the logistics and local services sectors.
Retail Commerce in China
Alibaba Group is the largest retail commerce company in the world in terms of GMV in the 12 months ended March 31, 2016. It operates Taobao Marketplace, China’s largest mobile commerce destination, and Tmall.com, China’s largest third‑party platform for brands and retailers, in each case by monthly active users in 2015, according to iResearch. It also operates Juhuasuan, a sales and marketing platform for flash sales. These three platforms, referred to as Alibaba Group’s China retail marketplaces, generated a combined GMV of RMB3,092 billion (US$485 billion) in the 12 months ended March 31, 2016.
Wholesale Commerce in China
Alibaba Group operates a China wholesale marketplace, 1688.com. A significant number of merchants on its retail marketplaces source their inventory on 1688.com.
International and Cross‑border Commerce
Alibaba Group operates AliExpress, a global marketplace for consumers from around the world to buy directly from manufacturers and distributors in China; and Tmall Global, a platform within Tmall.com for overseas brands and retailers to reach Chinese consumers without the need for physical operations in China. It also operates Alibaba.com, China’s largest global online wholesale marketplace in 2015 by revenue, according to iResearch. In April 2016, the company acquired a controlling stake in Lazada, which operates e‑commerce platforms in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Alibaba Group operates Alibaba Cloud, China’s largest provider of public cloud services in 2015 by revenue, according to IDC. The technologies that power Alibaba Cloud grew out of the company’s own need to operate the massive scale and complexity of its core commerce business. In 2009, it founded Alibaba Cloud to make these technologies available to third‑party customers.
Mobile Media and Entertainment
Alibaba Group has established an emerging business in mobile media and entertainment, mainly through acquisitions. In 2014, it acquired UCWeb, which operates UC Browser, the second largest mobile browser in the world after Chrome by page view market share as of April 2016, according to StatCounter. In April 2016, it acquired Youku Tudou, a leading multi‑screen entertainment and media company in China. These businesses and its other media and entertainment‑related businesses, including over‑the‑top TV services, music, sports and games, provide a comprehensive platform on which users may discover and consume content and engage and interact with each other.