Alibaba, an internet commerce giant that vehemently states it is not the “Amazon of China,” is taking on a lot of projects these days.
While claiming that Amazon is an “empire” that has to control everything it touches, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma seems to have overlooked the fact that the company has a little empire of its own going, as evidenced by the fact that it had plans to expand into the US with jobs, is developing an AI-powered microchip, develops and sells IoT devices, and more.
However, Ma is reportedly stepping down next week from the company he co-founded–although he will remain on the board of directors–in order to devote his energy to more charitable projects. The one-time schoolteacher turned wealthiest man in China has not only long-standing roots in serving others, but now the economic means, business experience, and well-forged connections to help out on a larger scale.
What is Alibaba?
Alibaba began as a very innovative but unique concept: a “broker”-style market place that made it possible for wholesalers to reach customers with their products. The company itself didn’t actually sell anything, but rather created an ecosystem where the transactions could happen securely. As the business grew–and people who didn’t want to buy in bulk learned of the site–Aliexpress was launched.
Related commerce site Taobao was also launched under the Alibaba arm as a no-transaction fee shopping site that instead profited from advertising.
What was that about a microchip?
Alibaba is in “a unique position to lead real technology breakthroughs in disruptive areas, such as quantum and chip technology” Alibaba Chief Technology Officer Jeff Zhang said, according to CNN. The company already offers such tech as an AI-powered smarthome assistant called Tmail Genie, powered by the company’s own cloud service AliCloud.
If Ma distances himself and his company from the all-encompassing “empire” that is Amazon, he might take a second look at just how far Alibaba’s reach extends.