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Alibaba Group Technology Strategy and Sustainability

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
2762 1456 Words (6 Pages) Ning Su, Pratima Bansal, Pam Laughland Ivey Publishing : 9B16E036
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This case study is about Alibaba. Alibaba was initiated in 1999 under the leadership of Jack Ma. The preliminary aim of the group was to launch an online website that would facilitate exporters, producers, and businesspersons in China to market their offerings all across the world. Consequently, Alibaba came into being as a global wholesale website. Jack Ma’s vision behind Alibaba is of a corporation that would last over three hundred years. The Alibaba group has five main businesses, which comprise retail platforms including Taobao,, and AliExpress; wholesale platforms including Alibaba; cloud computing services; logistics services including Cainiao Logistics; and financial services comprising Ant Financial Services. The three main future-shaping factors for Alibaba, according to Jack Ma, are globalization, economic growth, and big data. Some of the key opportunities and threats confronting the group include income disparities, urban expansion, and ecological dilapidation.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution:

  1. What are Alibaba’s core competencies?

  2. What are the opportunities and threats facing Alibaba?

  3. What should Alibaba’s next frontier be, given Ma’s desire for both long-term success and the creation of a prosperous society?

  4. What should Jack Ma do next? Why?

Case Study Questions Answers

1. What are Alibaba’s core competencies?

Alibaba’s core competencies lie in its five businesses which include retail, wholesale, cloud computing, financial services, and logistics. In the retail arena, Alibaba has three platforms, namely, Taobao,, and AliExpress. Taobao extends the accessibility of small enterprises to all Chinese patrons. Due to this reason, it is regarded as the largest online marketplace in China. It has a ‘supplier-rating system’ similar to e-Bay. T-mall makes product authenticity a reality for the Chinese market by facilitating the provision of products directly from the producer or brand. T-mall supplies branded products directly from the likes of Adidas, Zara, and Samsung. AliExpress facilitates patrons from all across the globe to purchase a multitude of products from Chinese producers or wholesalers at a reasonable cost. 

Concerning wholesale, has earned a name for itself in the international wholesale category by extending its services to millions of global patrons and traders. It has proven to be especially beneficial for smaller traders to market their merchandise to numerous corporations situated in several different country lands.

Alibaba’s cloud computing vertical, referred to as AliCloud, offers cloud computing services to the company’s ecosystem members as well as to other enterprises. Alibaba’s cloud computing expertise lies in four areas, namely, compute services, including scalable capacity and storage. Database services, including analytics and querying facilities, and security services.

The brand also has a financial services arm known by the name 'Ant Financial Services.' The arm's offering AliPay mitigates buying risk at Taobao and AliPay also extends its services for offline purposes, which comprise invoicing for ride-hailing services and rations. A major strength of the financial services arm is that it is able to develop a credit profile utilizing data on purchase history, invoicing, and residential address. Ant Financial also extends the services of creating information technology structures to other financial institutions.

Alibaba’s fifth core competency lies in its logistics services. Rich in warehouses and delivery stations, the brand’s logistics system Cainiao Logistics extends fast, timely, and efficient delivery services including same-day deliveries. Cainiao Logistics is able to offer exceptional delivery services by capitalizing on the company’s data and technological resources.  

2. What are the opportunities and threats facing Alibaba?

There is a multitude of opportunities and threats awaiting Alibaba. These include but are not limited to economic growth, globalization, big data, accelerating income inequality, accelerating urbanization, and environmental dilapidation.

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