Companies like Amazon and eBay are on the lookout for Alibaba Corporation, as China’s largest online commerce company generated US$248 billion in revenue in 2018 – five billion more than Amazon and eBay combined. How did Alibaba achieve such success, and what does it mean for the rest of the world?
Dominating China’s market has always meant dominating the world’s largest economy; and for Alibaba, solely running a shopping website was not enough. The corporation also owns a shipping company, an online payment system, a cloud computing service, and a video-sharing website. Among its top operations, the online market website Taobao generates the most success, hosting over 617 million users in 2018. The service was birthed in 1999 by founder Jack Ma in a small apartment in Hangzhou with a vision to centralize shopping while developing trust with online customers. It was a difficult task to accomplish against Chinese culture, but it has paid off in massive ways for Ma and Alibaba.
With its increasing success, Alibaba has its eyes set on expanding its operations outside of China, and the rest of the market has its eyes on them. In 2014, Alibaba Corp. listed its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange which attained a market value of US$231 billion almost instantly. Despite establishing a dominant foothold in China’s economy, the corporation faces stiff competition from Amazon and Jingdong.com along with continuous pushback from Chinese officials and regulators. Only time will test the limits that China’s leading company can break in the open market.