Alibaba: The Chinese leader in disruptive innovation

Alibaba started to attract the world’s attention quite some years back. However, in September 2014, when it created the greatest Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the world valued at $24 billion, it attracted unprecedented attention. Alibaba was founded in 1991 as a website,, by Jack Ma in his apartment in china. The website’s initial objective was to create a business to business (B2B) platform that will be linking overseas buyers with manufactures in China. It has grown, and today the company has a Consumer to consumer trading portal known as Taobao with more than one billion products. The company enables small businesses to find wholesalers, exporters, and manufacturers by linking millions of sellers and buyers worldwide. Today a mention of Alibaba triggers the thought of an e-commerce platform in China.  Together with the various websites operated and owned by Alibaba, it accounts for over 56% of the Chinese online retail market.

Alibaba’s Brand philosophy
By a close look at Alibaba’s strategy and by reading about Alibaba, you will understand that its success and its brilliant growth to becoming the largest e-commerce marketplace globally is due to the tremendous operating style and management skills of its founder Jack Ma. The fact that he is fluent in English is a great communication skill that has helped him capture the western media’s attention. He terms the company as the “Everything company.” To achieve this, he keeps Alibaba so diversified that clients won’t have to go to another site to find a product. Despite the drawbacks of the Chinese economy, including a slow-growing economy, deep-pocketed competitors and fleeting clients. The company has expanded and grown continuously with great help from acquisitions, mergers, strategic partnerships and founders with insistent leadership that helps build a client-oriented company. The company is dedicated to serving clients and offers them a robust placing and various segments to choose from. For instance, it targets manufacturers through its online retail platform, On the other hand, is a corporate website that targets international exporters and importers, and lastly, it has Taobao is a marketplace that targets the consumer to consumer segment.

Alibaba’s marketing strategy and branding architecture
The Digital brand portfolio of Alibaba revolves around a hybrid brand based architecture model. Alibaba properties can be categorized into various brand portfolio groups as discussed below;

Product brand architecture: The main aim of the product brand portfolio is communicating to clients a distinctive value proposition. Product brands usually offer strategic importance that will last for the long term and are driven by considerable marketing investment. Alibaba’s most imperative product brand in its portfolio is the Taobao market place, which is its response to eBay. Its other product brands comprise; Juhuasuan., 11 Main and eTao. Alibaba’s group’s approach has a robust foundation for driving the brand name’s simplicity and equity in all its family brands.

Product family brand architecture and Master brand: The master brand Alibaba lends its philosophy, equity and promise to its entire product family brand. Example of its portfolio’ family brand includes AliExpress, Alipay, AliWang and Alicloud.

Strengthening appeal of product brands at the local level: Jack ma stresses that Alibaba’s success has been because it always, Acts local and thinks globally. TaoBao can be a great example of the Jack Ma’s Act local, Think Global strategy. TaoBao has had immense success in China. However, it launched a shopping website that focuses on the US market, with a different name instead of extending the TaoBao brand name to this market. 

Future strategic challenges
As it pursues to expand outside China, the Alibaba group faces many challenges. Not only are the challenges unique to Alibaba’s new global markets but there are also challenges in China’s landscape, these challenges include;

Verifying how Genuine a product that is sold on the platform is
This is a major challenge that has had a significant impact on Alibaba’s market share outside China. There is a general perception worldwide that China is a hotbed of making fake products.  Trying to clear this image is a challenge for Alibaba. If the company is to enjoy success in markets outside China, it needs to clear this image by offering authentic products.

The Made-in-China challenge
The place that a brand originates from is essential, and with globalization, brands tend to forget how important their culture and roots are. Eventually, Made-in-China will gain global acceptance, and Chinese brands will receive positive perceptions among people.  By committing to transparency, reliability and quality as well as offering good governance in all aspects of business and operations, Alibaba will be able to make Made-in-China  a success

In conclusion, just by browsing the internet, you are most likely to find quite various websites and articles offering information revolving around Alibaba. This article has added to the body of work and offers insights about Alibaba. Review sites such as the UK collected reviews can help you understand this global leader from its clients’ perspective.