15 Things You Did Not Know About Alibaba

Alibaba has made quite the achievement over the past few years
But do you know the facts that make Alibaba an overachiever?
Here are some lesser known facts about China’s most popular eCommerce website…
Alibaba CEO, Jack Ma, had humble beginnings
Before becoming one of China’s most successful businessmen, Jack Ma was an English teacher in Hangzhou. He conducted free tours for foreigners first to learn English. He started wanting to learn the language at the young age of 12.
Alibaba originated in Jack Ma’s apartment
In 1998, Jack Ma started Alibaba from his one-bedroom apartment. He was still working as an English teacher then. Back then, Alibaba wasn’t the website’s name yet. It was first called, or rather, considered as China’s Yellow Pages. The Chinese Yellow Pages site Ma established the first internet company in China. He started the website with 18 employees in 1999. From there, Alibaba grew from a startup to one of the most profitable companies today.
Loans helped establish Alibaba
To finally launch Alibaba, Jack Ma borrowed an estimated amount of $60,000. In 1999, he borrowed this huge amount from 18 different people. This happened while he was explaining Alibaba’s business model at his apartment. He was able to please these 18 people which helped him get the loan. After 6 months of raising the initial funds, Alibaba received funding from Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs is a global investment, banking, and securities management firm.
Alibaba’s early investors
Yahoo!, one of the world’s most popular websites, holds 24% of Alibaba. The company sells about 10% of their shares which amounts roughly around $7 billion. If Yahoo! succeeds in selling this percentage of their shares, they will have the potential to overpower their current rivals.
Among eCommerce websites, Alibaba has the most international customers
Alibaba currently has an estimated 36.7 million registered users from more than 240 countries around the globe.
Even with its rampant rise in profits, Alibaba isn’t globally known
It isn’t a surprise that not everyone is a fan of Alibaba. Nor does everyone know about it. A recent survey conducted in the U.S. asked people of their familiarity with Alibaba. Almost 88% of the respondents claimed they know little to nothing of the eCommerce giant. Rampant selling of fake goods once put Alibaba off due to mistrust. This issue is constantly being resolved to make every Alibaba buyer’s experience satisfactory. Judgment from buyers is always necessary. Alibaba can’t ward off and block sellers selling counterfeit items. So it’s up to buyers’ purchasing strategy and judgment whether they’ll be scammed or not. Even so, Alibaba is open to resolving crime. They’re also working on providing better buyer experiences from everyone around the globe.
Alibaba landed Jack Ma the chance to appear on the cover of a popular business magazine
In fact, Jack Ma is the first businessman from Mainland China given the opportunity.
Alibaba continually adds more services for every business process
Alibaba’s has several sub-companies: Alipay (payment), Aliyun (cloud), Aliyun App Store (mobile apps), Tmall (business to consumer website), and the most famous Taobao (consumer to consumer website). These websites contribute to making trade easier as well as targeting markets.
Jack Ma discovered the internet in 1995
In 1995, Jack Ma first encountered the internet while going on a trip to Seattle. The first item he searched for was “beer”.
Jack Ma’s Alibaba shares are unbelievably lower than Yahoo!’s
Even though Jack Ma is Alibaba’s CEO, his company shares only equate to 8.9%.
Alibaba doesn’t have more than a million employees
In a recent interview, Jack Ma claimed that Alibaba employs over 45,000 people. He says he can’t imagine managing a million of them.
Alibaba has something to do with more than 60% of the packages delivered around China
In China, it’s not a surprise that 6 out of 10 packages are coming from an Alibaba sale. These packages are results of trading with not just the main Alibaba website. But their sub-websites such as Taobao and Tmall. Business analysts have predicted that Alibaba will soon surpass the eCommerce achievements of several companies in Japan, USS, France, Germany, and the UK in the next 6 years.
Alibaba’s customers amount to almost the entire US population
The Chinese eCommerce website’s customers amounts to almost 300 million.
Alibaba dominates China’s internet retailing industry
Alibaba dominates more than 80% of China’s eCommerce industry. In fact, in 2012, it grossed $171 billion in merchandise. Other notable sales achievements include gross amounts of $90 billion (2013) and $420 billion (2014). These amounts beat Amazon and eBay’s sales combined.
Alibaba’s name has an interesting origin
Alibaba is named that way due to Ma’s want for his company to become globally-acclaimed. He wanted a name that’s easy to remember, spell, and best of all, has a good meaning to it. He chose the name, Alibaba because it’s associated with the term, “open sesame”. This term signifies its function from the old tale, “One Thousand and One Nights”. The tale tells the story of Alibaba using the term to open doors to majestic treasures.
Alibaba has made more accomplishments than any other eCommerce platforms combined. Success in profits isn’t the only aspect Alibaba thrives in. They have also succeeded in providing payment, shipment, and ordering technologies. To educate yourself with more Alibaba facts, it’s encouraged to watch Jack Ma’s interviews. During his interviews, he humbly discusses the present and future of Alibaba.
Weren’t those lesser known Alibaba facts interesting? If you agree, please feel free to share your thoughts in a comment below. For more eBay and Alibaba tips and tricks, please visit our blog today.
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