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International DIY News

Alibaba: a retail force or AliBlahBlah?

Jack Ma is the most successful businessman you have never heard of - the founder of Alibaba.

Some 80% of all online retail sales in China are via Alibaba's platforms: Taobao, T-Mall and Alipay.

The company has stakes in Sina Weibo (Chinese Twitter) and YouKu.com (Chinese YouTube).

It is Amazon, eBay, PayPal, Twitter and YouTube all rolled into one and it's bigger than all of them.

Across China, small businesses have been linked together and consumers empowered to buy.

Taobao is Alibaba's answer to Amazon.

T-Mall is something new. Think of a virtual shopping centre; a place where the world's brands are available with just one click.

It is not exactly revolutionary stuff, but no-one else has done it.

Western companies like Marks & Spencer are 'renting' virtual shop floors on T-Mall, opening the door to China's 600 million internet shoppers.

Remember, the individual wealth of Chinese consumers is growing daily.

For foreign investors wary of diving into China with bricks and mortar, T-Mall is a perfect alternative.

Alipay is similar to PayPal, accounting for half of all online payment transactions within China. It provides a verification process and payment system for customers - a secure online 'counter' for customers.

Uniquely, Alipay will only transfer money to sellers once the customer has accepted and is satisfied with the product.

With China's lack of consumer trust, this has proved particularly attractive.

Essentially, with Alibaba, Jack Ma has made it incredibly easy for China's new, hungry online community to buy, and for companies across China and abroad to sell.

Alibaba charges for advertising and commission paid by companies who use its virtual marketplaces.

According to its own figures, Alibaba has 279 million active users and 8.5 million sellers.

Just 15 years ago, Jack Ma went to America with his ambitions. No one took him seriously.

He is back now, with a world-record breaking IPO (Initial Public Offering) on the New York Stock Exchange and a personal wealth of £12bn.

Source : Mark Stone - Sky News
http://news.sky.com/story/1337701/alibaba-a-retail-force-or-aliblahblah

23 September 2014

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