Alibaba.com (simplified Chinese: 阿里巴巴网络有限公司; traditional Chinese: 阿里巴巴網絡有限公司; pinyin: Ālǐbābā) is an online business-to-business trading platform for small businesses. The company was founded by Jack Ma and 17 other people in 1999 and is now the flagship company of Alibaba Group. It claims it had more than 79 million registered users in more than 240 countries and regions as of March 31, 2012.
Alibaba.com has three major business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces. The company’s English language international marketplace (www.alibaba.com) serves to bring together importers and exporters from more than 240 countries and regions. The China marketplace (www.1688.com) is developed for domestic business-to-business trade in China. In addition, Alibaba.com offers a transaction-based wholesale platform, AliExpress (www.aliexpress.com), which serves smaller buyers seeking fast shipment of small quantities of goods. Only Chinese can sell in Aliexpress, not from other countries. Launched in April 2010, AliExpress provides an escrow service and supports payments through Visa, MasterCard or bank transfer. Formerly customers could also use PayPal, but PayPal terminated its partnership with the platform in 2011.
Alibaba.com also offers a range of business management software, Internet infrastructure services and export-related services, and provides educational services to incubate enterprise management and e-commerce professionals. Alibaba.com has offices in more than 70 cities across China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. In July 2010, Alibaba.com bought U.S. e-commerce site Vendio Services Inc., making its first major U.S. acquisition. In August 2010, Alibaba.com also acquired Auctiva, the leading third-party developer of tools for eBay sellers, to strengthen its position as a go-to supply source for U.S. e-commerce entrepreneurs. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Alibaba.com reported a net profit of RMB339.2 million (USD53.8 million) in Q1 2012, a 25% decrease year-on-year due to the company’s business model upgrades and its shift in strategy to focus on delivering better quality and buyer experience. In September 2011, the company announced a proposal to spin off its Internet infrastructure service unit HiChina through a listing in the United States. In February 2011, the CEO and COO of Alibaba.com resigned "after an internal investigation found that more than 2,300 sellers on the e-commerce site committed fraud, sometimes with the help of Alibaba sales staff."