Alessio has reported security vulnerabilities to Google and Apple. He also has a past as a web developer and web server administrator.
Have you ever purchased something from Alibaba because of the low prices? Many people accept to wait for long delivery times and purchase items directly from China to save money on their purchases in exchange. Most people see Alibaba as a cheaper alternative to Amazon or eBay, a big marketplace with discounted prices but often long waiting times to deliver your orders to your house. The fact is that this is simply 1% of what Alibaba is. The same can be said of Amazon, which is essentially seen as a big marketplace by most people, just like the Chinese company. This article will highlight why Alibaba is more than a cheap marketplace where you can buy stuff delivered directly from China.
Alibaba was founded in 1999 by Jack Ma, one of the most influential businessmen in China, to allow Chinese manufacturers to get discovered by foreign buyers. It is essentially the company's primary mission, providing the service almost everyone knows Alibaba for. Still, Alibaba's growth has gone beyond this, exactly like Google's empire was built not just around a search engine but also by releasing many other services that today are forming a large internet conglomerate.
Alibaba Is A Big FinTech Company
A FinTech company is essentially providing an alternative to traditional banking with the help of new technologies. The most famous example of a FinTech company is PayPal: the service can be theoretically used in place of a banking account for sending and receiving money, paying online, and even in shops accepting this form of payment. What about Alibaba? Alibaba owns a subsidiary company called Ant Group: it is not only the highest-valued FinTech company in the world but also a top-valued unicorn company. Ant Group owns an app that can be considered an alternative to PayPal: Alipay. One could wonder why Alipay, an app that is undoubtedly not widely used in Western countries, has reached PayPal's popularity.
The answer cannot be more straightforward: it is one of the two most used digital wallets in China (the other one is WeChat Pay). Both Alipay and WeChat Pay allow people to send and receive money online and in almost any shop in China, and some of the ones are managed by Chinese people in the rest of the world. Alipay goes further by allowing people not only to send and receive money but also to invest them through a special managed fund which has been a little vault for the savings of many Chinese people over the years. Have you ever imagined investing your PayPal balance without cashing it out to a traditional banking account? If you live in China, you can theoretically keep most of your relevant assets just as an Alipay balance. In theory, you can do the same even if you do not live in China, providing that you own a Chinese banking account (Alipay needs to verify your identity in this way. Otherwise, your app use is minimal). You only shop in a few stores (mostly run by Chinese people or big chains) that accept Alipay. In China, a country with rapid technologic growth, FinTech companies and mobile payment apps play a crucial role. Alibaba, the 'alternative to Amazon and eBay,' is a leading financial company backed up by technology, owning one of China's two most used payment apps. The following video better describes how paying in China is simplified by the fact mobile payment apps here are seen as an essential service.
Alibaba is The Leading Cloud Computing Platform in China
By talking about cloud computing, we are dealing with a topic that interests mostly developers and experts about the internet and technology. Cloud computing nowadays plays a crucial role in innovation. Cloud technologies allow companies to evolve their online presence with tools that may feature simple web servers, buckets (sort of vaults where you can quickly and safely store data), and Artificial Intelligence technology or Internet of Things solutions. By talking about cloud computing, even Amazon looks more than giant e-commerce: Amazon, through AWS, is the leading cloud platform in the world. Many famous services and websites (including the same HubPages, TikTok, and several media) are currently running on AWS. Suppose you have never heard about AWS and were figuring Amazon was just the most extensive online store in the world. You may have just changed your view in a second after reading this. The same applies to Alibaba: in this case, it is correct to call the Chinese company an alternative to Amazon. Simply, it is not just alternative e-commerce but also an alternative cloud computing platform called Alibaba Cloud. Does Alibaba Cloud have any relevance in the world? Of course, it has: it is the leading cloud platform in China, then it is also growing its popularity in the rest of Asia, even if there is the ambition to directly compete worldwide with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, IBM, and other big companies providing cloud services to the world.
Alibaba provides several services mainly targeted at the Chinese market. Despite this, the company is most famous for being a central online e-commerce platform connecting Chinese resellers with foreign buyers and being the alternative to Amazon in China, thanks to Taobao's online shop. Still, the reason why Alibaba is so successful is not just because of the e-commerce services: the company is also into financial services and cloud computing, being a leader in both. Alibaba shares the same destiny as Amazon, which is mainly known as a giant online store by most people despite being also a leader in cloud computing services.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2020 Alessio Ganci
Shafqat M from UK on November 15, 2020:
You bring some pretty stuff to fore about Alibaba. I am sure readers will benefit from your article!