By Kaitlin Villanova
Do you hear the buzz? It's called Alibaba, no, not the fictional character from Arabian Nights but China's largest e-commerce company.
Alibaba is "the world's largest marketplace for global trade and the leading provider of online marketing services for importers and exporters. It is the place for buyers and sellers to find trade opportunities and promote their businesses online. Alibaba is not a trading company but rather an online business platform, where you can search or post information to find potential business partners."
It has been noted to be the first company to give Google a scare and maybe even a run for its money. Founded by former English teacher Jack Ma in 1995, Alibaba is selling a 17% stake in the company, in the biggest technology IPO since Google.
- Yahoo! has agreed to buy $100 million worth of shares (they hold a 39% stake in Alibaba Group).
- Alibaba.com is the largest business-to-business e-trading site in China; it reported earnings of 295.2 million Chinese yuan ($39.2 million) in the first six months of 2007.
- The listed company would not include two fast-growing Alibaba Group businesses: its online shopping unit, Taobao.com, and its online payment services provider, Alipay.
- Its shares are slated to begin trading Nov. 6. (Source: Forbes.com)
So what does this mean for marketers? With so many involved in the B2B space this allows for virtual global trade. Scott Tong of American Public Media’s Marketplace refers to Alibaba “as the online dating service for global business.”
With close to 25 million members, with sales and marketing offices in over 30 countries, and more than 4,400 employees, it leaves a big platform from which to do business. If your organization is doing B2B globally, I recommend you take the time to evaluate this search engine.