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What Is Alibaba?

Alibaba is a China-based e-commerce site with three distinct branches. reviews confirm that the most popular arm of its site is Taobao, which features consumer-to-consumer purchases on a platform very similar to eBay but catering specifically to in-country customers.

While this may not seem like it would generate the largest source of income, it is important to keep in mind how many Internet users reside in this part of the world.

According to an article by Forbes, China had an estimated 618 million users last year, and the number continues to rise year over year. Current Internet users still represents less than half of the total population.

The second part of its business is known as Tmall, which serves to bring official merchant storefronts to consumers in China. Large companies, such as Apple or Nike, can take advantage of this section of the site to expand their customer base further into China.

Alibaba relies on its merchants and small vendors, who list items on its sites, to store and ship their own goods. As a result, Alibaba has no warehouse or stock that may one day be marked down for an even steeper discount. This also means that it has very little control over timely shipping and handling.​

We are quick to point out that the company doesn’t actually profit from the sales made. Instead, it makes its proceeds through advertisements and search placements to its vendors. The site itself does not sell items but, instead, provides a way for others to sell. Co-founder Jack Ma describes it as a site that “helps others to do e-commerce. We do not sell things.”

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