Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has a track record of breaking records. It not only operates the world’s largest online business-to-business platform, but also the world’s largest online consumer marketplace. In 2004, it had the largest initial public offering (IPO) since Google on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In 2014, Alibaba had the biggest IPO in US history with its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on 19 September. Its founder Jack Ma — the first mainland Chinese to appear on the cover of Forbes magazine — and his core team have, in just 15 years, built a Chinese private company that is a global force to be reckoned with.
Having entered a new state of outbound investment, an increased number of Chinese private firms have joined the “Going Global” cohort. These new entrepreneurs represent many different industries, usually characterized by innovation and dynamics. However, these private sector entrepreneurs were often confronted with a shortage of financial capital, capabilities, and human resources required for internationalization. A large number of Chinese companies have in setting up business in Europe and faced difficulties and challenges ranging from culture, market understanding to regulation and strategic development. They key feature, nevertheless, is a strong learning capability and willingness to experiment and fail.
The story. Taobao.com was founded in 2003 by Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company, as a defensive move against its US rival Ebay, which had set up in China the previous year.
Read more: How Taobao bested Ebay in China – FT (12 Mar 2012); http://www.ftchinese.com/story/001043683/ce (Chinese version)