Alibaba Group Holding Limited, was formed as a Holding Company in June 1999. Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) is in the mobile and online e-commerce business, through the sale of products, services and technology from stores based in China, Hong Kong, and other regions in Asia Pacific. Alibaba also owns the following web pages:
Taobao: Taobao is a free platform where buyers can see various products and connect with sellers, thus establishing an online presence at a low cost. The sellers are given the opportunity to make a list of their products and sell to buyers who use online stores. This service uses the Mandarin language and is clearly focused on the Chinese market.
1668.com: This is a wholesale market oriented to the population that speaks Mandarin in China. 1688.Com is an online marketplace. Sellers must purchase a membership in order to establish an online presence. The focus is on national trade and thus 1688.com is full of Chinese suppliers and distributors. 1688 products are typically cheaper than in Aliexpress, so some international buyers have begun to use local sourcing agents to buy from this site.
Juhuasuan: a web site to purchase group offers that promotes the sale of products to the aggregates of customers at discount prices for a limited time.
Tmall: a platform for Chinese brands aimed at Chinese consumers.
Aliexpress: a global retail platform aimed to a global audience, its level of popularity has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years.
Alibaba: a market for business-to-business online (also called b2b), which promotes international trade between companies.
Alipay: a trust-like payment solution, created to give confidence and security to the payment from buyers, so sellers can release the goods to the buyers and be sure to get their money when the goods arrive at their destination.
The interests of Alibaba currently are cloud-computing services, domain registration and web hosting services, mobile applications, financial services, services of digital navigation maps, internet games, health, and education. The company also offers Internet infrastructure services, such as web hosting and domain registration. Through its subsidiary Alibaba Pictures, the company has also engaged in the production and distribution of films.
Interesting facts about Alibaba:
One of the largest shareholders of Alibaba is Yahoo! Inc. Yahoo! Currently owns about 15.4% of the shares of Alibaba. Yahoo! Inc has been struggling to keep up with the industry leaders in its line of business and has been contemplating the sale of its stake in Alibaba.
How will Yahoo! spin-off affect Alibaba investors?
Alibaba has several commercial interests that span multiple business areas. Its basic e-commerce business is booming and its recent Singles Day sales on November 11, 2015 broke all sales records for e-commerce sites, raising more than $5 billion after the first hour of operations. The e-commerce division of Alibaba does not seem to stop in the short term, and everything seems to be well in the company. However, a series of lawsuits were filed against the company after the initial public offering (IPO) by many manufacturers who have accused the company of providing an outlet for piracy and direct counterfeits of their products to be sold in its platforms without restrictions.
The sale of counterfeit products of lower quality in Alibaba, is one of the major problems of the company, which has committed itself to fighting it, but this is certainly a situation that will damage the good name of the company. Investors usually do not see well companies that have to start paying millions or even billions of dollars in fines and compensation as a result of this kind of demands.
Anyway, as the Alibaba business grows by leaps and bounds, investors must be careful with some of the battles that the company is carrying out against these demands and against sellers of counterfeit products in its platforms. There is also a growing competition from several e-commerce platforms.