Alibaba logo

Alibaba is a Chinese multinational technology company specializing in e-commerce, retail, internet, and technology. Founded on Jun 28, 1999, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, the company provides consumer-to-consumer (C2C), business-to-consumer (B2C), and business-to-business (B2B) sales services via web portals, as well as electronic payment services, shopping search engines, and cloud computing services.

Quick Fact


  • Ranked #337th worldwide
  • Active users 811 M
  • Type Shopping networks
  • Launched date Jun 28, 1999
  • Employees 1,667
  • Headquarters Yuhang District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
  • Parent company Alibaba Group (1999 - present)


Jack Ma Zhejiang


  • Brand value In 2020 $153 B
  • Revenue in 2020 $109 B
  • Net loss In 2020 $1.2 B

Data Graphs


Alibaba Antitrust Investigation

Alibaba Antitrust InvestigationThe Alibaba Group logo in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.

(via ).

On 24 Dec 2020, China launched an antitrust investigation into Alibaba Group regulators, in a crackdown on China's booming Internet space's anti-competitive behavior.

In Dec 2020, the shares of Alibaba Group suffered a historic stock price crash to the lowest close in around 6 months, following the antitrust investigation into the company by Chinese regulators. China's State Administration for Market Regulation stated that it opened an investigation into Alibaba over monopolistic practices.

The country's central bank, as well as three other regulators, confirmed in a separate statement that the affiliated Ant Group would also be summoned for discussions over "competition and consumer rights", where regulators instructed the company to return its focus to digital payments.

People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, endorsed the investigation shortly after the announcement, claiming the investigation to be "an important step in strengthening antimonopoly oversight in the internet sphere".

As a result of the antitrust probe, Alibaba lost nearly all of its stock-market gains in 2020, from $859B to $586B, by the end of Dec.

Original Idea

original ideaoriginal idea

On 28 Jun 1999, Jack Ma (Ma Yun), with 17 friends and students founded, a China-based B2B marketplace site, in his Hangzhou apartment. In Oct 1999, Alibaba received a US$25M 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 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),

to help export Chinese products to the global market as well as to address World Trade Organization (WTO) challenges.

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

Brief History

Jun The company was founded by Jack Ma and 18 partners in Hangzhou, China.
Oct Raised US$5M from a consortium of investors.
Jan Raised US$20M from an investor group led by Softbank.
Sep Organized the first West Lake Summit, a gathering of Internet business and thought leaders.
Jan 1M registered user.

eBay announced its expansion into China.


Alibaba launched Taobao Marketplace.

Feb Raised US$82M from several first-tier investors in the largest private equity commitment ever in the Chinese Internet sector.
Jun Organized its first Netrepreneur Summit, a gathering of Internet entrepreneurs, and honors the first 10 Netrepreneurs of the Year.
Jul Aliwangwang, a personal computer-based instant messaging tool launched on Taobao Marketplace.
Dec Alipay’s digital payment and escrow services are launched.
May Organized the first AliDay on May 10 to commemorate the Ali spirit Alibaba employees displayed during the 2003 SARS epidemic.
Nov Alibaba’s monetization platform Alimama is launched.
Mar Taobao Mall (currently known as Tmall), a third-party commerce platform for brands and retailers, is launched to complement Taobao Marketplace.
Sep Alibaba Group's 10th-anniversary celebration: Alibaba Cloud is established.
Nov Alibaba Group holds the first 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.
Mar Taobao Marketplace introduced Juhuasuan, a sales and marketing platform for flash sales.
Apr AliExpress is launched.
May Announced that it will earmark 0.3% of its annual revenue to fund efforts designed to spur environmental awareness and conservation in China and around the world.
Jul The Alibaba Partnership is established to ensure the sustainability of Alibaba Group’s mission, vision, and values.
Aug The Mobile Taobao App is launched.
Jun Taobao Mall is spun off from Taobao Marketplace as an independent platform.
Oct Juhuasuan is spun off from Taobao Marketplace as an independent platform.
Dec Established the Alibaba Foundation, which is dedicated to social causes.
Nov The combined GMV of Taobao Marketplace and Tmall surpassed RMB1 trillion (US$157B) in the first 11 months of 2012.
May Taobao's 10th anniversary in Hangzhou and Jack Ma's departure as CEO.

Established Cainiao Network together with its business partners.

Aug Alibaba Group relocated its campus to Yu Hang District in Hangzhou.
Sep Launched its “all-in mobile” strategy.
Feb Tmall Global is officially launched.
Jul Established a joint venture with Intime to develop an O2O business in China.

Alibaba Group completes its investment in digital mapping company AutoNavi (currently known as Amap).

Dep Alipay’s parent company Ant Group is formally established.
Oct Taobao Travel becomes an independent business Alitrip (currently known as Fliggy).
Feb Launched DingTalk, a digital collaboration workplace.
Jun Koubei is established as a joint venture of Alibaba and Ant Group.
Jul Acquired majority ownership of Alibaba Health.
Dep Launched Lingshoutong, a digital sourcing platform for mom-and-pop stores in China.
Nov Launched the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Funds for Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Jan The first Freshippo store is launched, marking the debut of Alibaba’s proprietary grocery retail chain.
Mar Generated RMB3 trillion (US$439B) in the fiscal year 2016 GMV on its China retail marketplaces.
Apr Acquired a controlling stake in both Youku, a leading online video platform in China, and Lazada.
Jul Hosted the inaugural Taobao Maker Festival to showcase the creative ideas and designs of Taobao merchants to the world.
Sep The concept of an Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) initiative envisioned by Jack Ma is endorsed by G20 leaders.
Nov Alibaba Cloud announced the opening of four new data centers in the Middle East (Dubai), Europe (Frankfurt), Australia (Sydney), and Japan (Tokyo).
Jan The International Olympic Committee and Alibaba Group jointly announce a long-term partnership through 2028.
Jun Launched Tmall Taobao World, an initiative to serve the 100M strong overseas Chinese market worldwide.

Alibaba Group increased its stake in Lazada Group from 51% to approximately 83%.

Aug Alibaba Group upgraded its loyalty program for Taobao and Tmall members and established a joint venture with Marriott International to redefine the travel experience for Chinese consumers.
Sep Alibaba Group increased its ownership of Cainiao Network to a majority stake of 51%.
Oct Alibaba DAMO Academy, a global research program in cutting-edge technology, is established.

Alibaba Cloud opened a data center in Malaysia.

Nov The first overseas e-hub under the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) initiative is established in Malaysia.
Dec Announced an RMB10 billion (US$1.4B) Alibaba Poverty Relief Fund.
Feb Alibaba Group unveiled its technology showcase – “The Olympic Games on the Cloud” – at Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Mar Alibaba Cloud’s Indonesian data center commences operations.

Announced an additional US$2B investment in Lazada Group.

Apr Acquired, a leading on-demand delivery and local services platform in China.
May Acquired Daraz Group.
Jun Alibaba advocates the establishment of the Luohan Academy, an open research platform with Nobel Laureates and leading international social scientists.
Aug Rolled out a new premium “88 VIP” membership package that will offer exclusive benefits to members across the Alibaba ecosystem.
Oct Expanded European presence with the opening of two availability zones in the United Kingdom.

Expanded European presence with the opening of two availability zones in the United Kingdom.

Alibaba Group and the Rwandan Government sign Memoranda of Understanding to establish an eWTP hub in Rwanda.

Nov Announced commitment to help import US$200B worth of goods into China from more than 120 countries and regions over five years.
Dec Alibaba Group and the Government of Belgium signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote inclusive trade under the eWTP initiative.
Jan Launched the Alibaba Business Operating System, a holistic one-stop solution to accelerate companies’ digital transformation.
Feb Announced the Tech for Change initiative.
Mar Acquired majority ownership of Alibaba Pictures.

The Alibaba Economy Technology Philanthropic Committee is established with a focus on technology-driven philanthropy.

Jun Launched an eWTP hub in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, China.
Sep Alibaba Group's 20th-anniversary celebration: pledge to push forward global e-commerce expansion.

CEO Daniel Zhang succeeded Jack Ma as Chairman of the board.

Acquired Kaola, and received a newly issued 33% equity interest in Ant Group.

Nov Increased its equity stake in Cainiao Network to approximately 63%.

The Government of Ethiopia and Alibaba Group sign agreements to establish an eWTP hub in Ethiopia.

Alibaba Group is officially listed on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Mar Gross merchandise value (GMV) transacted in the Alibaba ecosystem surpasses US$1T for the fiscal.
Apr Launched the “2020 Spring Thunder” initiatives to help SMEs explore opportunities amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Sep Alibaba Group reveals its New Manufacturing model for the first time with the unveiling of Xunxi Digital Factory.
Oct Acquire a controlling stake in Sun Art.
Nov The Financial Times reported the abrupt cancellation of the Ant Group's anticipated Initial Public Offering (IPO) ​after an intervention by financial regulators.

Network Features’s search function favors properly categorized product postings to help buyers quickly find the products they are interested in.

Product Search: On the Alibaba home page, you can enter the item or related keywords that you wish to source in the search bar and Alibaba will display relevant results.

Product Search
																Alibaba home page. (via

Payment: Alibaba offers multiple payment methods, including credit card, PayPal, and financing options for qualified US buyers.

																Payment on Alibaba. (via

Reviews: Shoppers can use a scale from one to five to rate manufacturers they’ve used in the past-one being poor; five being perfect. Reviews are further divided into three categories: Supplier Service, On-Time Shipment, and Product Quality.

																Reviews on Alibaba. (via

Live streaming is commonly used by people on social media platforms to share moments in life.

In Taobao, it is now a huge trend for sellers to use live streaming to promote their products or services, as well as to engage with customers further. Sellers can share special vouchers, which are only retrievable by customers watching the live stream.

Live streaming
																Live streaming on Alibaba. (via

Private Label Manufacturing

A private label product is a good or service produced by another company and resold under a different brand or label. Popular examples of private label products include Target’s Market Pantry brand and Walmart’s Great Value brand.

Everything is trackable

In Taobao, every single product is trackable once shipped and there are no different classes of shipping services available. Instead, there are many different shipping companies available that provide a pretty similar service.


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