China’s ecommerce giant Alibaba Group has been described as being like Amazon and eBay combined, holding the title of most dominant player in the marketplace and generating annual revenues in the billions of yuan.

If you keen to market to Chinese audiences, here are four things you need to know about Alibaba Group.

  1. Alibaba is diverse

One of the distinctive things about Alibaba is its diversity, in that it provides access to buyers at all stages of the purchasing cycle from sourcing of items right through to payments and delivery. It also caters for all levels of the marketplace. For example, Alibaba provides a variety of B2C, B2B, and C2C platforms that can also be easily accessed from a smartphone – which means that people who do not own or have access to a computer may still use Alibaba’s various services.

  1. How Alibaba makes its money

Alibaba generates its revenues largely through advertisement sales, subscription fees on its wholesale platforms, and annual fees for merchants on Tmall.

  1. Alibaba owns a range of companies

Some of Alibaba’s businesses include:

  • Taobao – C2C marketplace and the company’s largest business. It has similarities to eBay, but does not charge commissions to sellers.
  • Tmall – B2C e-commerce site which focuses on luxury goods and high-end branded products.
  • com – B2B wholesale trade platform that also operates in the US, India and Thailand.
  • com – similar to Alibaba.com but designed for smaller businesses.
  • AliExpress – platform offering global consumers the chance to buy directly from Chinese manufacturers and wholesalers.
  • Juhuasuan – business model offering discount prices for group demands often for a limited time-period, in a similar way to Groupon.
  • eTao – comparison shopping search engine.
  • Alipay – secure online payment system popular with Chinese customers.
  • Alimama – provider of online marketing services.
  1. Alibaba provides a range of marketing features

Alibaba offers a number of online marketing services that can streamline the process of setting up a web presence and selling in China. There is a free platform for listing of items, paid advertising options, a data management platform, advanced targeting and consumer insights, web hosting and cloud computing services, and secure payment and delivery.

The company also offers online maps, messaging services and media services – including Youku Tudou video hosting which is similar to YouTube.

Making the most of Alibaba

Alibaba’s free listings, paid advertising options and various platforms provide an opportunity to break into new markets in China. The advanced targeting features also enable marketers to more easily reach and connect with specific audiences and groups.

We can help you to choose the Alibaba models that are best-suited to getting your marketing message across in China, and that fit within your budget. So if you would like help in making the most of Alibaba’s services, get in touch with our China Online Marketing division.

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