Weekly Featured Company: Alibaba

Founded Headquarters Sector Employees Revenue Total Investment Recent Investment
1999 Hangzhou, China Ecommerce 22,072 $8.4bn $2.7bn $100m

Alibaba’s success
From a tiny startup founded by Jack Ma in his apartment in Hangzhou, China in 1999, Alibaba is now one of the biggest B2B ecommerce companies in the world. Inspired by the story of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” Jack Ma chose the name Alibaba to bring to mind the famous line “Open sesame,” an incantation that grants exclusive access to treasures. The Alibaba platform aims to open a doorway of fortune for small businesses worldwide. Due to its dominance in China’s internet and logistics space, with over 600 million subscribers and nearly $250 billion of annual transactions, it’s no surprise that Alibaba quickly rose to become one of the world’s biggest businesses. In September 2014, the company smashed records with the largest public offering in US history. Alibaba’s IPO attracted $21.8 billion, surpassing Facebook’s $16 billion in 2012. So how did Alibaba achieve this success? According to Forbes.com, Alibaba partly owes its success to Yahoo’s former CEO Jerry Yang, who invested $1 billion in the company in 2005 in exchange for 40% stake. Yahoo’s massive investment gave Alibaba the resources to boost its presence online. Included in the deal was Yahoo’s consumer marketing expertise and IP valued in the millions. Yahoo today, in exchange, enjoyed a windfall netting at tens of billions of dollars.


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