TECHNOLOGY

Report: Alibaba primed for explosive global growth

BY Marianne Wilson

Move over Amazon — China's largest online player is looking to take on the world.

Now the largest e-commerce company in the world with $430 billion in gross merchandise volume, Alibaba is seeking to become a global company as well with a goal of serving more than 2 billion shoppers, according to a new report by global think tank FGRT (Fung Global Retail & Technology).

Since it was founded in 1999 as a business-to-business portal connecting Chinese manufacturers to overseas buyers, overseas buyers, Alibaba has expanded to include direct selling to consumers as well as digital entertainment, innovative initiatives and local services. Executive chairman Jack Ma now hopes to expand the company into a global phenomenon that will serve 2 billion customers, host 10 million businesses on its platforms by 2036 and achieve $1 trillion in GMV by fiscal year 2020.

"With the growth of Singles' Day and other promotions, Alibaba is becoming better known outside Asia as an innovative force in e-commerce, but many still don't understand the full breadth of its influence and plans for the future," says FGRT managing director Deborah Weinswig.

The report, "Alibaba Group: From Strength to Strength-An Overview of the Business Units of the World's Largest E-Commerce Company," details Alibaba's many different platforms and marketplaces. It also notes that more so than Amazon, Alibaba is expanding beyond retail into film production and distribution, investing in Alibaba Pictures as well as an online ticketing platform, a music streaming service; and a video-streaming operator.

Other investments include Alibaba Sports, a physical and e-sports events developer and operator; UC Web, a mobile browser; DingTalk, a B2B enterprise messaging platform; YunOS, an Internet of Things (IoT) operating system; AutoNavi, a digital map and navigation service; Ali Health, a healthcare services platform; Koubei, a search engine for local services such as restaurants, food delivery and travel; and AliPay, a third-party online payment app developed by Ant Financial, an Alibaba-affiliated company; and cloud-computing and marketing services.

"Technologies such as cloud computing, payment, logistics and local services penetrate every facet of consumers' daily lives," Weinswig stated in the report.

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