Alibaba and its savvy founder

9 May

Chinese Internet and e-commerce giant Alibaba might be set to have an IPO in the US, which some think could raise as much as $16 billion, more than Facebook’s IPO. However, it’ll likely still focus on its home market in China, where there’s a lot of potential to exploit. The company was founded by Jack Ma (Ma Yun), a former English teacher from Zhejiang, who grew the company from humble origins into a tech behemoth that dominates business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions in China. What’s more remarkable is that Ma has little tech knowledge, though he seems to have more than made up for that with business savvy, good initiative, and some ruthlessness. Alibaba’s sales volume in 2013 was $248 billion, more than that of Amazon and eBay combined!

Alibaba’s main business is its original site, which bears the company’s name, that allows companies to sell products to other companies. Then there’s Taobao, a site where individuals and small businesses can sell their goods; Tmall, which allows local and international brands like Apple and Nike to set up virtual stores;  and Alipay, a digital payment service.


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