In 1999 Jack Ma and his friends founded Alibaba.com in an apartment in Hangzhou, Zhejiang China. Jack Ma is an English teacher in Hangzhou. Alibaba started as a retailer and e-commerce company servicing business-to-business (B2B), consumer-to-consumer (C2C), and consumer-to-business (C2B).
The name Alibaba is from the folk tale One Thousand And One Nights. Jack Ma chose the name because of its universal appeal.
Taobao Marketplace, a consumer-to-consumer online shopping platform was launched by Alibaba in 2003. It became Taobao Mall in April 2008. In 2013 it was the most visited website in China.
The company went public in 2014, raising $25 billion, it is more than Facebook in the largest offering in the history of the New York Stock Exchange!
AliExpress was launch by Alibaba in 2010. It is made up of a small Chinese businessman and offers retail products to international buyers. Through AliExpress, a lot of small businesses in China were able to sell their products all over the world.
In April 2016 Alibaba Group acquired control of Lazada Group, a Singaporean company by paying $500 million for shares and buying $500 million shares from other investors. Lazada operates in several Asian countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore. Lucy Peng Lei (Alibaba co-founder) is the CEO of Lazada.
By September 10, 2019, Jack Ma will step down as executive chairman. Daniel Zhang ( Alibaba CEO) will succeed him as executive chairman of Alibaba Group.