Frequently Asked Questions

Corporate Information

What is Alibaba Group's mission?

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.

When was Alibaba Group founded?

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.

Why is the company called "Alibaba"?

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.

Where is Alibaba Group headquartered?

The principal executive offices of our main operations are located in the Xixi District of Hangzhou, China.

Can the public tour the Alibaba Group corporate campus?

Currently, the Alibaba Group corporate campus, located in the Xixi District of Hangzhou, China, is not open to the public.

How many offices does Alibaba Group have? Where are they located?

As of March 31, 2015, we maintained 126 offices in mainland China and 29 offices outside mainland China.

How many people does Alibaba Group employ?

As of March 31, 2016, we had a total of 36,450 full-time employees.

How do I learn about job openings at Alibaba Group?

To learn about our job openings, please visit the Careers page.

What is Alibaba Group doing to help the community?

Alibaba Group aspires to be a company that creates value for society. We are highly involved in sustainable corporate responsibility projects. For more information, please visit the Sustainability page.

Business Operations

What is Alibaba Group's core business?

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.

Who are Alibaba Group's customers?

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.

What do you mean when you refer to the "Alibaba ecosystem"?

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."

How does Alibaba Group make money?

We primarily monetize our China retail marketplaces (Taobao Marketplace, and Juhuasuan) through online marketing services (e.g. pay-for-performance, display marketing, Taobaoke program and placement services) and commissions on transactions. For wholesale marketplaces, we derive revenue by charging fees for memberships and value-added services. We also generate revenues from cloud computing and Internet infrastructure services primarily from the time- and usage-based provision of cloud computing services.

How does Alibaba Group grow its business?

Our growth strategies are:
- Increase the number of active buyers on our marketplaces and the wallet share of our existing buyers
- Develop and promote additional product and service categories and offerings
- Extend our mobile leadership to become central to the everyday lives of our customers
- Enhance the success of a broad base of sellers on our marketplaces
- Enhance our data and cloud computing technologies
- Develop cross-border commerce opportunities

What are P4P marketing services?

Pay-for-performance (P4P) marketing services are one type of marketing services we offer to sellers on our marketplaces, where sellers bid for keywords that match product or service listings appearing in search or browser results on a cost-per-click, or CPC, basis at prices established by our online auction system, which facilitates price discovery through a market-based bidding mechanism. P4P marketing services are provided both on our marketplaces as well as through third-party marketing affiliates.

How much commission do sellers have to pay for a transaction completed on

Sellers on and Tmall Global pay commissions based on a pre-determined percentage of GMV for transactions settled through Alipay that varies by product category, and typically ranges from 0.3% to 5%. Sellers also pay an annual upfront service fee, up to 100% of which may be refunded depending on sales volume achieved by the seller within each year. Sellers also pay a security deposit to back-stop potential claims under our consumer protection programs.

Investor Information

When was Alibaba Group's initial public offering (IPO)?

Alibaba Group went public on September 19, 2014 at a price of $68 per American depositary share (ADS), each representing one ordinary share of Alibaba Group.

Where is Alibaba Group traded and what is the ticker symbol?

Alibaba Group's ADSs are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol BABA. You may refer to the Stock Information page for further details.

When is your next annual shareholder meeting?

The date of our next annual shareholder meeting has yet to be announced. You are recommended to subscribe to our Email Alerts to receive our latest updates.

What is the dividend policy of Alibaba Group?

We have no present plan to pay any dividends on our shares. We intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to operate and expand our business. Any future determination to pay dividends will be made at the discretion of our board of directors and may be based on a number of factors, including our future operations and earnings, capital requirements and surplus, general financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors that the board of directors may deem relevant.

How can I receive updates on investor news concerning Alibaba Group?

Please subscribe to our Email Alerts to receive our latest investor news.

What is Alibaba Group's relationship with SoftBank Corp. and Yahoo! Inc.?

SoftBank Corp. has been our shareholder since 2000 and Yahoo! Inc. since 2005.

Financial Reporting

How can I get a copy of the annual report of Alibaba Group?

Our digital 2015 annual report, titled "Alibaba Defined," is available here.

How do I know when Alibaba Group releases its next financial results?

You may visit the Investor News and Events page to find out our upcoming results announcement date. Alternatively, you may subscribe to our Email Alerts to receive updates.

When is the fiscal year end of Alibaba Group?

Our fiscal year ends on March 31.

Corporate Governance

Who sits on Alibaba Group's board of directors?

Information on Alibaba Group's board of directors can be found on the Board of Directors page.

What is the Alibaba Partnership? Who are the partners of the Alibaba Partnership?

For information on the Alibaba Partnership and the current partners, please visit the Alibaba Partnership page.

Who is on Alibaba Group's management team?

Information on Alibaba Group's management team can be found on the Leadership page.

Who is Alibaba Group's auditor?

Alibaba Group's independent external auditor is PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Where can I find more corporate governance materials?

You can view Alibaba Group's corporate governance documents here.

Contact Information

Who can I contact about investor-related issues?

If you are unable to find the information you are looking for about Alibaba Group on this website, please contact us.

How do I contact your customer service team?

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.