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Gosh....that's barely more than WhatsApp. Woulda done better selling it to Facebook.

More seriously, the Economist put a valuation at $55-$120b. This puts it at $168b. Or 9 WhatsApps. The IPO was expected to raise $20b, so this is really good.

It took 3 years after founding in 1998 to reach profitability.

It defies most conventional notions of a startup, despite having started in somebody's apartment. It's unbelievably unfocused, it does pretty much every kind of business you can do on the Internet.

It might be one of the first Asian-style conglomerates to be born on the Internet.

There are plans for it to open brick and mortar stores.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alibaba_Group




>It defies most conventional notions of a startup... It's unbelievably unfocused, it does pretty much every kind of business you can do on the Internet.

It defies the Silicon Valley notion of startup. China's internet market is still new, and Alibaba is like Yahoo in the old days - it does everything online.

Hopefully it doesn't turn out like Yahoo.


It sells more product than both ebay and amazon combined.


While we're having fun with numbers that don't make much sense to compare given the differences in businesses...

Apple generates ~1,000% more net income than Alibaba (projected 2014).

Amazon has about ~900% more revenue than Alibaba.

Apple has about ~2,000% more revenue than Alibaba.

eBay does 100% more in revenue than Alibaba


Crazy part is how much illegal stuff they sell. (knockoffs and fakes)


Its not fair comparing Amazon's revenue vs Alibaba. Alibaba doesn't sell products they take ad fees. Which means the product price itself isn't part of the revenue. It is more fair comparison with Ebay's revenue numbers.


It doesn't turn like Yahoo.

Yahoo made the super wise decision to buy part of Alibaba a few years ago, and now the whole Yahoo is worth nothing more than its share of Alibaba!


and if you look at Alibaba history, Jack Ma was admittedly one of the speculators who rushed online in 1999 to make a buck. Silicon Valley historians heads must be spinning :)


> It's unbelievably unfocused

That's because Jack Ma is unbelievably focused.


And also because he does not face competition.


$20b is money raised. The market cap is expectd to be 160-$200bn, almost half the size of Google.


> It's unbelievably unfocused, it does pretty much every kind of business you can do on the Internet.

This is standard in China, as well as other Asian nations, which have high-context cultures[0]. People in high-context cultures value familiarity more than people in low-context cultures. What we see as a lack of focus is seen by Chinese consumers as part of Alibaba's value proposition.

0: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-_and_low-context_cultures


This kind of Orientalist armchair psychology is standard in high-bullshit cultures like ours[1].

The reasons for Alibaba's success might have more to do with the unique political and economic conditions that obtain in China than any special feature of the Chinese consumer mind that makes them favor lack of focus.


> This kind of Orientalist armchair psychology is standard in high-bullshit cultures like ours[1].

Do you actually know anything about psychology, or are you just talking out of your ass? Because the idea of high and low context cultures is not a recent or controversial one, and high context cultures are not all "Oriental." In fact, they can be found in southern Europe (not to mention other non-Asian parts of the world) as well.

> The reasons for Alibaba's success might have more to do with the unique political and economic conditions that obtain in China than any special feature of the Chinese consumer mind that makes them favor lack of focus.

1. Similar conglomerates exist in most other Asian nations as well, so it can't be explained away by China's politics or economics.

2. So basically you have no idea of your own as to why Alibaba is successful, other than for the vague claim of "unique political and economic conditions." If anyone is contributing to the high level of bullshit in our culture, it would definitely be you.


> Do you actually know anything about psychology, or are you just talking out of your ass?

Personal attacks are not allowed on Hacker News.


I never attacked the commenter, I only criticized his comment.


Perhaps it would be helpful to explain the standard we apply. The comment was aggressive ("actually know anything", "out of your ass") and personal ("you", as opposed to "this" or "it"). That combination is particularly to be avoided.


There is no such thing as high and low context cultures. ALL culture is high context.


See my response to the other child comment.




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