Alibaba, the giant Chinese online retailer, facilitates billions of transactions each year, but has some big counterfeiting problems.
Here’s what you should know about Alibaba:
1. It’s the world’s largest e-commerce company – larger than Amazon and eBay combined
2. The company doesn’t sell merchandise, but connects buyers with sellers (it earns revenue from commissions and advertising)
In 2014 had 231 million active users. By 2016 that number had grown to over 400 million.
3. It operates three platforms: Alibaba, T-Mall and Tao Bao
The core service, Alibaba, is a business-to-business supplier platform. T-mall is an Amazon-like platform where more than 70,000 retail brands can sell to consumers, while Tao Bao is an eBay/Etsy-style website for consumer-to-consumer sales.
4. The company’s platform alone has an incredibly wide range of products
5. It’s a highly mobile-focused company[contextly_sidebar id=”4AuvSkb6ZumKJ3g3jaPw93UuPuLbw56Y”]
In 2016 the company boasted 393 million active monthly users. Payment is handled through Alipay, a third-party payment processing service that was restructured in 2011 to be a private company held by CEO Jack Ma.
6. 11Main, Alibaba’s US site, is opening a beta test for both consumers and brands
7. Buyers should beware, however – Alibaba sites have seen scams and frauds before
As though to emphasize the scope of the problem, the company has publicly recognized that it needs to fight fraud in order to survive.
The website’s Help Center offers guides on how to avoid being scammed.