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Alibaba Holding Group Limited

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Alibaba Group Holding Limited is a Chinese business conglomerate that runs the world’s largest retailer and one of the largest online e-commerce sites in the world, Alibaba.com. It is also a fintech, entertainment services, cloud services and artificial intelligence (AI) technology provider.

Along with massively multinational retail outlets, Alibaba.com enables individuals to sell to one another as well as offering consumer-to-manufacturer, consumer-to-distributor and business-to-business sales. Similar to its United States counterpart EBay, the site offers an online payment platform in the form of AliPay. Alibaba Holdings Group has reported sales greater than those of EBay, Amazon and Walmart combined since 2015.

Under the holding groups’ Alibaba Cloud, the organization offers cloud services including elastic compute, big data, large-scale computing, content delivery networks (CDN), databases and storage. They provide additional cloud computing services, such as infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).

Among other parts of the conglomerate are media companies for film, music, sports and game publishing as well as a mobile and smart device OS developer with AliOS, a Linux OS developed by Alibaba Cloud.

Alibaba was founded in 1999 by a group of 18 people, led by Jack Ma. The company is headquartered in Hangzhou and Zhejiang, China.

The company’s name comes from the Arabian folk tale Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Ali Baba was a woodcutter who discovers the magic words “open sesame” to enter the thieves’ den of stolen riches. The name was chosen by Jack Ma for its universal recognition and because he intended the service to “open sesame” to small and medium sized companies.

 

This was last updated in September 2018

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