IM+io Fachmagazin, Ausgabe 4/2018

Does Alibaba limit Chinese Small and Medium Enterprises or enrich them?

Yuewei Bai, Lai Xu, Paul de Vrieze, Guorong Cai




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Further content


Table 1: Alibaba Platforms Related to Alibaba Core Commerce

Name Platform Overview Revenue model Key MetricsLinks with other Alibaba platforms and outsides Competitors



C2C online marketplace for Chinese market




No sales commission charged

Value-added services (i.e. storefront design, marketing and promotional activities)


Over 95% in China C2C online retail market.

Together with Tmall and Juhuasuan, $454 million in 2017


AI and the big data-driven user experience.

Social commerce:

  • Taobao Guang, a platform for female users to share photos and fashion advice.
  • aobao Live, a platform for merchants to promote their products through live broadcasting
  • Ai Taobao and Yitao, support group buying.
  • Youku, Alibaba video portal support demonstrating products.
  • AliWangwang, an instant-messaging app to increase conversion among sellers.

  •  EachNet
  •  Ymatou



B2C online platform for Chinese consumers.


Anneal service fee and a commission fee for each transaction.


75% of consumer brands on the Forbes top 100 most valuable brands list on Tmall.


Big data, AR and VR

Social commerce as above


  • VIPShop for discount luxury
  • Suning and Gome for electrical appliances
  • Dangdang for books
  • Suning and Gome for electrical appliances
  • Dangdang for books



Online flash sale

Changing one-time fee and commission for product listing900 products and 50 brands are displayed on the site each day.Shareing consumer analytics data with merchants
  • Pingduoduo
  • Juanpi
  • Jumei


Online B2B wholesale marketplace for Chinese market.


An annual membership fee and fee for value-added service, e.g. promotional and advertising fees and order matching fees.


961,000 paying members on 2017 serves the upstream value chain for retailers ad merchants on Taobao.


Value-added membership services, e.g. exhibition sports, advertising, data analytics, trough China TurstPass


Online community for merchants and suppliers


  • HC360
  • Makepolo
  • Global Sources
  • DHGate



International B2C marketplace for overseas consumers to buy directly from manufacturers and distributors in China


Annual fee and 5% commission for each transaction


100 million overseas buyers from 220 countries and regions on 2017


Expedited delivery supported by a data intelligent network.


Tech-enabled tools for effective selling


Livestream content


  • Amazon
  • eBay


Global online wholesale marketplace


  • No commission fee
  • Membership fees
  • Marking services
  • Value-added services




141,000 playing members in 2017


  • An effective channel for domestic suppliers to export to the rest of the world
  • Domestic logistic providers
  • International logistic providers, e.g.  UPS,  FedexDHL and Keuhne+Nagel
  • Financing support enable by data technology: e-Credit Line

  • ThomasNet (US)
  • TradeIndia (India)
  • EC21 (South Korea)



South-East Asia Based E-Commerce Platform, with operations in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.


2% payment fee


A commission on products sold ranges from 0.5% to 12%


Advertising fees




An e-commerce leader in South-East Asia


Synergies between Lazada and Alibaba’s ecosystem


  • Tokodia (Indonesia)
  • Shopee (Singapore)
  • Amazon


























































Table 2: Alibaba Platforms Related to Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment

Name Platform Overview Revenue model Key MetricsLinks with other Alibaba platforms and outsides Competitors

Alibaba Pictures


Ali Pictures is a movie production and distribution company.

  • Movie studio content creation and production
  • Internet-based marketing and distribution
  • Entertainment e-commerce
  • International

Commissions and service fees


Ali Pictures’ online ticket platform Tao piaopiao had over 25 Million MAU (Media Access Unit) in 2016.


  •  Alibaba literature
  • Alibaba gaming
  • Youku
  • Tmall box office
  • Taobao online ticketing
  • Tao piaopiao

  • AMC entertainment
  • Huayi Brothers
  • Tencent Pictures
  • Wanda Cinema Line



A music-streaming platform



Paid subscriptions


14 million MAU in 2016


Leverage Alibaba’s assets which ocver marketing and advertising, payments, e-commerce, etc.


  • NetEase Cloud Music
  • QQ Music
  • Sogou Music
  • Kugou Music
  • Kuwo Music
  • Baidu Music
  • Yinyue Tai

Alibaba Sport


Developing and operating sports IP, Sporting events, e-sports contests, sporting venues, sports merchandise and acquisitions of selected media rights.


Expecting revenue in the future from commissions from Alisports’ online platforms and advertising income from sporting events


380 million viewers streamed the 2016 Rio Olympic games


  • Digitalize and create a platform for China’s sport economy
  • Develop IP for foreign and home grown sporting content
  • Strategic partnerships for major sports tournaments

  • Wanda Sports
  • Tencent Sports



Youku Tudou


Video Content Platform

(similar to youtube)



Paid subscription


30 million paying viewers in 2016


A cornerstone to Alibaba’s e‑commerce media ecosystem


  • iQiyi
  • Sohu
  • Mango TV
  • Tencent Video

UC Web


Mobile Internet Service. Augmented Mobile Internet browser


UC Web operates UC Browser.



252 million MAUs  in 2016


Part of Alibaba media ecosystem


  • QQ browser
  • Baidu browser
  • 360 browser
  • Sogou browser



Table 3: Alibaba Platforms Related to Alibaba Innovative Initiatives

Name Platform Overview Revenue model Key MetricsCompetitors



Enterprise messaging platform.


Free of charge


3 million corporate users in 2017


  • Enterprise Wechat
  • Yonyou
  • 263 cloud





Cloud-based Operating System


Not charge licensing fees to hardware manufacturers for installing

YunOS on their products.


Alibaba shares in the revenues derived

from these products and its cloud services.


70 million mobile phone users and over 100 million total users across all platforms on 2016.


  • Tencent Operating Systems
  • Freeme OS
  • MIUI
  • Baidu Yi
  • EUI



Digital Map, Navigation and Location-based services

(similar to google map)


Free of change for basic navigation functions.


Charge value-added services


29 million monthly active users in 2016


  • Baidu Map
  • China Mobile Map
  • Tencent Map
  • Tianyi Navigation

Alibaba Health


Online Healthcare Platform


Ali Health’s main revenue stream used to come from the operation of the

China Drug Administration Online System, an online drug tracking and pharmacy online system that lets users track drug production and distribution information. However, the system was subsequently suspended in 2016.


As of March 2017, more than 5,000 enterprises from the drug, food and

nutritional supplement industries had signed up to join Ali Health’s Ma

Shang Fang Xin platform,


  • Baidu Doctor
  • Tencent Doctor



Table 4: Alibaba Platforms Related to Alibaba Others-Local Services and Enabling Functions of Commerce

Name Platform Overview Revenue model Key MetricsLinks with other Alibaba platforms and outsides Competitors



O2O Local Services.
An open platform for customers and local merchants, and a search engine that provides information on local services such as restaurants, food delivery, movie ticketing, shopping, travelling, etc.


Not service fees to merchants on its platform.

It takes part of the commission that third-party marketers receive for successfully promoting a merchant’s services to consumers.


1.5 million third-party service providers.


Integrates with Alipay


  • Dianping

Cainiao Network


Affiliated logistics.

Cainiao Network is an asset-light, logistics data platform that drives efficiency by connecting e-commerce companies with logistics companies to provide fulfilment on a large scale.


Charging services fees from business on e-commerce platforms and logistics companies



Within China, covers over 2,700 counties and districts in 2017; Worldwide covers 224 countries and regions with over 100 overseas warehouses and over 60 cross-border partners in 2017


All Alibaba core commerces


  • JD logistics,
  • Suning logistics
  • Pinjun Express



Ant Financial


Online financial services provider. Its products:

  • Payment products: Alipay
  • Wealth-management products: Yu’ebao, Zhaocaibao.
  • Financing: Ant check later, Ant micro loan, MY bank.
  • Insurance
  • Third-party credit rating: sesame credit

  • Commissions and interest received from Alipay
  • Service fees from wealth-management products
  • Interest income from individual and corporate loans
  • Premium income from insurance products

520 million annual active users in 2017




Alipay is the largest share in the mobile payments market in China.  It also wishes to bring China into a cashless ear within five years.


  • JD Finance
  • Tencent’s WeChat Pay
  • Commercial banks



Third-party online payment

  • Escrow payment
  • Life service, e.g. utilities bill payment
  • Banking account transactions
  • Financing & investment

  •  Interest income
  • Commission
  • Advertisement fees

520 million active users and settled 200 million transactions daily in 2017




Payment and escrow services for transactions on Alibaba platforms.


  • Tenpay
  • China UnionPay
  • Apple Pay

Alibaba Cloud


Provider of cloud-computing services to businesses and entrepreneurs


Different levels of pricing for its products. Price increases with the size of the capacity package.


874, 000 paying cloud customers in 2017.

A total 2.8 million users.


  • Amazon Web Services
  • Microsoft Azure
  • IBM cloud
  • Alphabel



Data-Driven Marketing Technology Platform, which provides merchants and brands with online marketing services on Alibaba’s marketplaces and through third-party media outlets

Products are

  • Taobao Ad network and exchange (TANX)
  • Data management platform (DMP)
  • Taobao Zhitongche

  • Cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM), service fee is calculated according to the number of people that the advertisement reaches
  • Cost-per-click (CPC), the service fee according to the number of times a customer clicks the advertisement.

600 million users in 2016


Data collected by Alibaba’s ecosystem,

  • Transaction data on its marketplaces
  • Payment data on Alipay
  • Logistics data from Cainiao network
  • User behavioural data from its media entertainment properties

  • Baidu Promote
  • Tencent social Ads
  • JD JZT