Alibaba.com, the main company of Alibaba, as of 2014, the world’s largest online business-to-business trading platform for small businesses.Founded in Hangzhou in eastern China, Alibaba.com has three main services. The company’s English language portal Alibaba.com handles sales between exporters and importers from more than 245 countries and regions. The Chinese portal 1688.com was developed for domestic business-to-business trade in China. In addition, Alibaba.com offers a transaction-based retail website, AliExpress.com, which allows smaller buyers to buy small quantities of goods at wholesale prices.
Launched in 2010, AliExpress.com is an online retail service made up of mostly small Chinese businesses offering products to international online buyers. It is one of the most visited e-commerce website in Russia.Allowing small businesses in China to sell to customers all over the globe, resulting in a wide variety of products. It might be more accurate to compare AliExpress to eBay, though, as sellers are independent, it simply serves as a host for other businesses to sell to consumers. Similar to eBay, sellers on Aliexpress can be either companies or individuals. It connects directly Chinese businesses with buyers.
The main difference from Taobao is that it´s aimed primarily at international buyers. Mainly in USA, Russia, Brazil or Spain.
Founded in 2003, it offers a variety of products for retail sale. Taobao Marketplace, or Taobao, as of 2013 was China’s largest C-T-C online shopping platform. In January 2015 it was the second most visited web site in China, according to Alexa.com. Taobao’s growth was attributed to offering free registration and commission-free transactions using a free third-party payment platform.
Advertising makes up 85 percent of the company’s total revenue, allowing it to break even in 2009. Taobao’s 2010 profit was estimated to be 1.5 billion yuan (US$235.7 million).
According to Zhang Yu, the director of Taobao, between 2011 and 2013 the number of stores on Taobao with annual sales under 100 thousand yuan increased by 60% and the number of stores with sales between 10 thousand and 1 million yuan increased by 30% while also the number of stores with sales over 1 million yuan increased by 33%.
Also, there are other parts of Taobao. On April 2008, Tmall.com was introduced as an online retail platform to complement the Taobao consumer-to-consumer portal. It became a separate business in June 2011. As of October 2013 it was the eighth most visited web site in China, offering global brands to an increasingly affluent Chinese consumer base.
In addition, there is Juhuasuan, a shopping website in China. It was relised by Taobao in March 2010 and became a business of its own in October 2011. Juhuasuan offers “flash sales”, meaning products that are available only for a fixed time period (on-sale products), which can last from one or two days to a month. To buy at the discounted price, buyers must purchase the item within the given time period. Plus, Taobao launched a service known as eTao. eTao was beta-launched by Taobao in October 2010 as a comparison shopping website, and became a separate business in June 2011. It offers search results from most Chinese online shopping platforms, including sales and coupon searches and also product searches. According to the Alibaba Group web site, eTao offers products from Amazon China, Gome, Yihaodian, Nike China and Vancl, as well as Taobao and Tmail.