Our mission is “to make it easy to do business anywhere.” Our founders started our company to champion small businesses, in the belief that the Internet would level the playing field by enabling small enterprises to leverage innovation and technology to grow and compete more effectively in the domestic and global economies.
Alibaba Group was founded in 1999 by 18 people led by Jack Ma, a former English teacher from Hangzhou, China. It began as an online wholesale marketplace for small Chinese exporters and entrepreneurs to reach global buyers.
Jack Ma chose the name because it is well-known around the world and it can be easily pronounced in many languages. E-commerce is global so we needed a name that was globally recognized. Alibaba brings to mind “open sesame,” representing that our platforms open a doorway to fortune for small businesses.
Alibaba Group, together with our related companies, operates an ecosystem where online and mobile commerce participants can leverage the power of the Internet to establish and grow their business as well as meet consumer demand efficiently. Since our inception, we and our related companies have developed and expanded to operate a range of Internet-based businesses in retail and wholesale trade, as well as online payment and cloud computing. For more information on our key offerings, please visit the Our Businesses page.
Our customers include both buyers and sellers on our marketplaces and they discover, select and transact with each other on our platform. Buyers access our marketplaces free of charge. Buyers include consumers who come to our retail marketplaces to shop for anything anytime anywhere, as well as business buyers who use our wholesale marketplaces to source products for use in their own business or for resale. Sellers use our marketplaces to establish a presence on the Internet and market products and services to hundreds of millions of consumers and other businesses. Sellers include brands, retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. We also provide cloud computing services to a wide range of customers including merchants doing business on our marketplaces, systems integrators, mobile app developers and digital entertainment companies.
Given the scale we have been able to achieve, an ecosystem has developed around our platform that consists of buyers, sellers, third-party service providers, strategic alliance partners, and investee companies. Our platform and the role we play in connecting buyers and sellers and making it possible for them to do business anytime and anywhere is at the nexus of this ecosystem. Much of our effort, our time and our energy is spent on initiatives that are for the greater good of the ecosystem and the various participants in it. We feel a strong responsibility for the continued development of the ecosystem and we take ownership for this development. Accordingly, we refer to this as “our ecosystem.”
The principal executive offices of our principal operations are located in the Xixi District of Hangzhou, China.
As of December 31, 2013, we maintained 73 offices in mainland China and 16 offices outside mainland China.
Currently, the Alibaba Group corporate campus, located in the Xixi District of Hangzhou, China, is not open to the public.
As of March 31, 2014, we employed more than 22,000 people around the world.
Alibaba Group operates a range of businesses and each of them has its own customer communication channels. For the key contact information of our major businesses and affiliated entities, please visit the Customer Service Contacts page.
To learn about our job openings, please visit the Careers page.
Alibaba Group is currently a privately held company.
SoftBank Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. and their respective affiliates are our major shareholders. SoftBank Corp. has been our shareholder since 2000 and Yahoo! Inc. since 2005.