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How Alibaba became the King of B2B online selling

By Francesca Firth on Tue 14 April 2015 in Topical

If Amazon and eBay are online retail giants, then Alibaba is Gargantuan. 

With sales last year that easily totaled more than the aforementioned giants combined. The Alibaba group was started in 1999 by a team of 18 friends led by former English teacher Jack Ma.

Ma had been running a successful business translating documents for business, to help with international trade. Deciding to capitalize on this further, he gathered his friends at his flat and the Alibaba group was conceived. The site was to be a portal for Chinese SMEs to “Open Sesame”, the gateway to trading with foreign (primarily English speaking) businesses. The site gained momentum in a way that no one could have predicted. 5 years later in 2014, Alibaba started trading in the New York Stock Exchange offering a record breaking 12% of it’s $160 Billion business to investors.

The company has gone from strength to strength expanding from a business market into a consumer market in 2003 with the launch of its C2C platform Taoboa in 2003, followed by the launch of, Chinas largest third party platform for brands and retailers in 2008 (think eBay but bigger).

Alibaba’s success proves that moving from an online B2B business model into B2C can be extremely successful. You don’t have to take our word for it check out this infographic which shows just how well Alibaba are doing in real time.

You might be think that setting your sites on Alibaba is unachievable and maybe you’re right. But that doesn’t change the fact that their success is based on selling online in a B2B environment. If you’re not already selling online you probably have your reasons, but in our experience you are missing out. Whether you know it already or not your customers do want the convenience of placing their orders with you online. If this is you I’d recommend reading out blog “4 reasons why you’re wrong about not being able to sell online”. If it doesn’t completely change your mind it will at least make you think.

For any more information on ProspectSoft eCommerce and how we can help you transfer your offline business online just get in touch with one of the ProspectSoft team