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Alibaba 2020

#Entrepreneurship #Business strategy #Leadership


Alibaba was founded by Jack Ma and his entrepreneurial team in March 1999. It started from serving as a network technology company to help Chinese enterprises, especially small medium enterprises to do e-commerce business. Under Jack Ma’s leadership, Alibaba launched different e-commerce strategies to develop Alibaba into an empire. The case depicts the business growth path of Alibaba in each strategic evolution stage and main driving factors behind it, along with the narratives about Jack Ma’s personal stories as a main thread. The case is a brief introduction of Alibaba development history, and the main part is divided into three timelines: early stage (1999-2003), growth stage (2004-2007), mature stage (2008-2019). In early stage, Alibaba launched B2B2C platforms, which opened the road to external financing, created two-sided market and adopted three-year non- profit strategy by offering free subsidies to lay a huge user base, finally realized the company’s transformation and upgrading. In growth stage, Alibaba launched value-added services, such as Alipay and Ant Fortune to expand the business, acquired Yahoo China to diversify business, created massive reconstructing to integrate resources, and achieved creation and differentiation. In mature stage, Alibaba created Ali cloud, which transformed the company into three major businesses- platform, finance and data, acquired HiChina to expand the e-commerce chain and broaden user market, launched “Big Taobao” strategy to upgrade existing e-commerce service system, created “Big Ali” strategy to integrate information flow and created the ecosystem. After witnessing the growth of Alibaba, Jack Ma planned to retreat from the rapids but got strong opposition, which made him get stuck in making hard choices. Jack Ma and Alibaba’s story is a legend in Chinese history, this case will give a good learning subject of developing entrepreneurship and leadership, and also exploring business strategy and innovations.

Detailed information

Case ID 20-1180
Published 2020
Analyzed Area Entrepreneurship
Pages 29
Language English
Teaching Note Attached