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Mobile MAUs in
China retail marketplaces reached 507 million in March, an increase of 14
million over December 2016.

Jack Ma & Early Life

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Jack Ma born Ma
Yun was born on October 15, 1964, in Hangzhou, located in the southeastern part
of China. He has an older brother and a younger sister. He and his siblings
grew up at a time when communist China was increasingly isolated from the West,
and his family didn’t have much money when they were young. Ma was scrawny and
often got into fights with classmates. “I was never afraid of opponents
who were bigger than I,” he recalls in “Alibaba,” a book by Liu
Shiying and Martha Avery. Still, Ma had hobbies just like any other kid. He
liked collecting crickets and making them fight, and was able to distinguish
the size and type of cricket just by the sound it made. After President Nixon
visited Hangzhou in 1972, Ma’s hometown became a tourist mecca. As a teenager,
Ma started waking up early to visit the city’s main hotel, offering visitors
tours of the city in exchange for English lessons. The nickname
“Jack” was given to him by a tourist he befriended. Without money or
connections, the only way Ma could get ahead was through education. After high
school, he applied to go to college, but failed the entrance exam twice. After
a great deal of studying, he finally passed on the third try, going on to
attend Hangzhou Teachers Institute. He graduated in 1988 and started applying
to as many jobs as he could. He received more than a dozen rejections,
including from KFC, before being hired as an English teacher. Ma was a natural
with his students and loved his job, though he only made $12 a month at a local
university. At the World Economic Forum in 2016, Jack Ma revealed he has even
been rejected from Harvard 10 times!  Ma
had no experience with computers or coding, but he was captivated by the
internet when he used it for the first time during a trip to the US in 1995. He
had recently started a translation business and made the trip to help a Chinese
firm recover a payment. Ma’s first online search was “beer,” but he
was surprised to find that no Chinese beers turned up in the results. It was
then that he decided to found an internet company for China.

 

 

Alibaba

It’s almost
easier to list what Alibaba group doesn’t do.

Alibaba.com was set
up by the company’s founder Jack Ma in 1999. This platform helped to mediate
with exporters in China with companies in over 190 countries around the world.
For example, the structure allowed businesses in the UK to find a manufacturer
in China and have a range of goods produced and shipped.

It’s not just
businesses that used Alibaba’s websites but also SMEs and individual consumers.
It also owns taobao.com, China’s largest shopping website, and tmall.com, which
offers a wide range of branded goods to China’s emerging middle class. Alibaba runs
the online payment system alipay.com, which operates like Paypal.

It holds large
stake in Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, and the online video provider,
Youku Tudou, which operates in a similar way to YouTube.

The company also
offers online marketing, cloud computing and a logistics operation.

Alibaba’s growth
in its core business has allowed it to expand into new areas. It recently
bought a 50% stake in China’s most successful football club, Guangzhou
Evergrande  and a controlling stake in a
film production business.

**heading Alibaba’s
growth from a start-up employing 18 people in 1999 to a worldwide company
employing 50,092 is down to its ability to harness the world of internet
commerce. It accounts for 80% of all online retail sales in China.

Online
marketplaces often refer to gross merchandise volume (GMV), which measures the
value of items sold and therefore it is seen as an indication of the size of
their business.

Alibaba reported
GMV of $547bn for the year to 2017, Amazon does not publish a GMV figure but industry
estimates put it at $147bn for last year. Revenue for these marketplaces comes
from fees and a percentage paid on each sale. On this measure, Alibaba’s
performance still lags behind other e-commerce giants. But it is Alibaba’s
lucrative business model that has got many investors excited. The company’s
operating margin, a measure of its efficiency , far exceeds those of its
rivals.

China now has
over 751 million internet users, out of a population of 1.38 billion people. That
compares with 286.9 million internet users in the US and 546 million in Europe.

Revenue stream

Alibaba makes most
of its revenue from advertisement on its various websites without charging any
listing fees.

**CHANGE THISAccording to its latest
filing with US regulators, 279 million active buyers and 8.5 million active
sellers use Alibaba’s online services every year and 14.5 billion annual orders
are made. So it’s not hard to see why advertisers find the websites so appealing.

As the company
simply connects customers and businesses charging only a small commission, it
does not need huge amounts of infrastructure to make the system work.

Work culture

Not every
company boss would dress himself in leather, don a Mohican wig, lipstick and a
nose ring and sing Elton John’s Can You Feel the Love Tonight? to his 16,000
employees.

That was exactly
what Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, did to celebrate the company’s 10th
anniversary.

Mr Ma started the
company in 1999 with $60,000 raised from around 80 friends in Hangzhou in
southern China. He is now worth an estimated $42.6bn through his 7%
stake in Alibaba, according to Bloomberg. Jack Ma stepped down as CEO on May
10th 2013. The news was reported earlier by the New York Times. Speaking
to the newspaper in an email interview Ma said: 

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