A blog on eCommerce, Social Commerce, Comparative Shopping Engines & Business

By Hendrik Laubscher

Search Results for: "Alibaba"

Alibaba Names Jonathan Lu As New CEO, Replacing Founder Jack Ma

Yesterday, was a significant day in the history of Alibaba. Jack Ma announced to the world that he will be succeeded by Jonathan Lu Xaoxi. Does the new heir apparent seem to be a new unknown? I tend to think so but Lu is Ma’s choice and that speaks volumes.

Lu, is like Ma one of the few Alibaba executives that has experience and knowledge of all 25 Alibaba businesses (a brief summary of the Alibaba holdings is seen below). That is significant as he will need to manage all of these holdings after they were all realigned to be separate businesses.

Alibaba group structure

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Alibaba vs Amazon – 2014 Edition

When I wrote my first post on Amazon in which I looked at the competitors it will face; back 2012, I had 7 major ecommerce businesses that could destabilize Amazon’s domination in ecommerce:

  1. Amazon is and still is it’s own biggest concern
  2. Apple
  3. Alibaba
  4. eBay
  5. Walmart
  6. Rakuten
  7. Regional players (Netretail, Ozon, MercadoLibre)

Fast forward 2 years and a variety of changes (global economic changes, investments and the rate of offline and online retail convergence) – the above list changes considerably. The growth in single global brand ecommerce businesses has grown remarkably primarily through the globalisation of ecommerce.

Let me be clear – I am of the opinion that regional ecommerce competition is a less of a factor now as the global competitors can at any time launch in a market.  Global ecommerce businesses (Amazon, eBay, Rakuten etc) have the potential to invest significantly in a market through funds and staff.

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The ShopRunner story – and why it is important

It is not often that an entrepreneur has a successful business twice. Most entrepreneurs have one major exit and then they  become Angel investors. While they are building their business for the second time they either take money off the table from investors or the take their companies public. Michael Rubin in my opinion is one of the most unmentioned commerce entrepreneurs there is currently. However don’t let the lack of press coverage fool you – he is a serious heavyweight from Philadelphia.

Rubin sold his enterprise commerce business to eBay for $2.4 billion. GSI commerce as it was called then had some serious retailers as clients. eBay had a massive weakness in the enterprise space and fixed that by acquiring Magento and GSI Commerce.

Rubin pioneered an innovative pay-for-performance business model that fueled GSI’s organic sales growth, which he then complemented in recent years with 11 strategic acquisitions. GSI became one of the largest publicly-traded Internet companies, facilitating billions of dollars of merchandise sales for its customers, with 2010 revenues of $1.4 billion and more than 5,000 employees. As part of the transaction, eBay divested certain assets to Kynetic, specifically all of GSI’s online licensed sports merchandise business (Fanatics) and 70% ownership in Rue La La and ShopRunner.

Magento for me is the trojan horse for eBay as that business is used globally and has commerce partners in emerging markets. GSI Commerce was and still is the big success that Michael Rubin had. How he convinced eBay to spin ShopRunner, Rue La La and Fanatics into a new business (Kynetic) is worth a book. I hope Rubin decides one day to write a book..

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Potential Alibaba targets for 2015

Alibaba’s IPO was one of the headline stories of 2014. The Chinese ecommerce business raised record amounts of cash that will allow them to pay shareholders back for showing faith in them. Alibaba is also in a position unlike any of their global competitors to aggressively acquire companies that will put them in good stead for the foreseeable future.

Alibaba has one major weakness and it is quite apparent in their M & A (mergers and acquisitions) strategy – they have done very little outside of China. It is understandable pre-IPO that they wanted to focus on China only and ensure that they are the undisputed market leaders in their home market. Post IPO they have to start looking at business outside China and ensuring that they are creating a sustainable business. I believe that in 5-10 years’ time that Tencent and JD.com would have made significant inroads on Alibaba.

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What are the challenges for Alibaba post IPO?

Alibaba has been on my mind for the last 18 months. I have not been writing about the company as I researched, asked opinions from senior ecommerce executives and have been trying to understand the impact that the Chinese behemoth will have on ecommerce. Let me be frank – everything changes, it really is as simple as that.

The reality of Alibaba

I spent a few days reading the epic and first real look at Alibaba – its SEC IPO documentation. I have always thought that Amazon was a very difficult company to try and compartmentalise (the amount of disruptive businesses inside Amazon is small in comparison to Alibaba). In terms of business functionality Alibaba can be seen as the following:

  1. Amazon Marketplace
  2. Paypal
  3. UPS
  4. Amazon Webservices
  5. Fidelity investments (this is to be seen as comparison to Alibaba’s Yu’e Bao fund)
  6. Amazon’s MVNO for mobile phone contracts (which will be operational from June)

All of the above together is equal to Alibaba. There is no easy way to explain the scale that is seen at Alibaba.

The thing that makes Alibaba astounding is the size that they have. The scale that Alibaba has is partly due to the size of their home market (China) and the aggressive nature that they have defended their businesses.
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The future of ecommerce, Flipkart to be Largely an M-Commerce Company and Tiger Global snaps up Alibaba shares – eCommerce stories of the week

The future of ecommerce, Flipkart to be Largely an M-Commerce Company, Tiger Global snaps up Alibaba shares at a giant valuation, Argentina and Russia restricts ecommerce and much more.

The past week has contained stories that has me shaking my head in disbelief (Argentina and Russia restricting ecommerce) and thinking about the future of ecommerce. What is the future of ecommerce? The short answer is I am not sure. I see a combination of mobile commerce with personalization, location based services that includes social commerce in some way or form all together. Social commerce has been on my mind for the last few weeks as I think Asia is showing everyone that messaging is also part of the future. I will continue the thoughts in a longer post on social commerce soon..

I am going to be a bit controversial in a minute as I think ecommerce in Argentina and Russia got given the short end this past week. Long story short in both cases have legislation ensured that importing of international goods from international merchants (eBay, Amazon and Alibaba) become a long and difficult process. I believe that in both countries are the incumbents (MercadoLibre and Ozon) benefiting from this sudden change but in both counts the biggest losers are the locals buying from these international juggernauts. I have a fundamental problem when corporates use legislation to slow down the progress of companies that innovate and do better customer service than local companies. This development surely will hurt Russia’s position as an emerging market that ecommerce investors are looking at.

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Alibaba files for IPO, Alibaba future challenges – eCommerce stories of the week

Alibaba Files IPO in the U.S, Four problems that irritate Amazon, but threaten Alibaba’s existence, Apple is No. 2 after Amazon in online retail, Zulily’s Delivery Problem: the Packages Pile Up, Aramex Partners With InPost For Middle East Parcel Locker Network, Singapore’s GIC leads $170 mln investment in Brazil’s Netshoes and much more

It is finally here – Alibaba has started the process to go public and be listed in the US. They are clearly managing the process – they still have not indicated whether they will be listing on the NYSE or the Nasdaq. The initial document contains a few caveats and is indicating that only a billion dollars is to be raised (that is not the final number) and I suspect that the investment banks are fighting between themselves for position. Potentially there is a $400 million prize awaiting the successful investment bank /s that ensures a successful IPO for Alibaba. There is a lot of information in the initial documents but not a single mention is seen regarding Taobao and Tmall (which in my mind is a potential gold mine for investors). Alibaba also faces challenges that normal western businesses are not privy to. Everyone seems to think that mobile is their biggest challenge for the future but I disagree (that is another blogpost coming soon).

A story worth noting is the giant $170 million round of funding that Netshoes raised. Netshoes is a business that gets very little press coverage but it is a giant pure play ecommerce business in Latin America. “This investment round is the largest in the history of Netshoes. It happens at a time of relative economic instability in the country, which proves the fact that good companies with solid fundamentals remain able to attract the attention of blue chip investors“, says José Rogério Luiz, Vice President of Corporate Development for Netshoes.” I can’t help but think we are close to a bubble in terms of ecommerce investment.

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Alibaba goes public – eCommerce news of the week

The long awaited Alibaba IPO has come and gone. The Chinese behemoth went public amid a huge amount of PR and celebration. Needless to say – I believe that it is a line in the sand moment. We will most probably look back at the past week in years to come as a watershed moment for Chinese technology companies.

Alibaba – a Chinese company now has billions of opportunities to disrupt regions, single markets or competitors. The major story that broke on the day of the IPO was that Alibaba was supposedly looking into funding Snapdeal. If that is the case then Indian ecommerce is the first market in which all of the heavy weights are seen competing. Alibaba will be looking at going into India, the Middle East and Latin America as currently they have little or no presence there. I cant help but feel that a lot of the investment into Alibaba is more an investment into China than in the company itself..

In the next 6 months we will get an idea on how profitable Alibaba really is. I believe strongly that in the last 12 months they did a lot of promotional events to ensure that their IPO prospectus have a lot of amazing numbers.

Secondly – I also think that a fair comparison to Amazon is still in order – are they really that profitable? I understand that they don’t have logistics and last mile delivery like Amazon does, but with the exclusion of the massive Chinese scale – this business does seem to be to good to be true.

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Amazon acquires Twitch, Alibaba to IPO in September – eCommerce news of the week

Amazon has gone up a few gears and are moving at a speed I have not seen before. First they subtly tell the world that they are working on an advertising product to rival Google’s advertising monopoly and then the Seattle-based behemoth acquires Twitch. Currently it feels like Bezos is asking questions to the Google founders because they are trying to get into the vertical that Amazon dominates (ecommerce).

I think the Twitch purchase was based on a few factors: Twitch did not get the answers it desired from Youtube. Secondly – Amazon has always bought content based business – DPreview, IMDB, goodreads etc, so this is not a completely new thing. Twitch adds a few things to Amazon’s business – a community to are deeply connected with gaming (ads to a gamer will lead to conversions and sales while watching a video of someone playing). It adds another data source to Amazon enormous data-based business model and as VC, Mackey Craven points out this might be also for technology.

Alibaba is to IPO in September with trading of shares to begin from the 8th. This is the moment the entire ecommerce industry has been waiting for. It changes the entire industry as suddenly there is a new player that has a lot of cash that can go into underserved markets. I expect them to do something big in the US to rattle Amazon’s & eBay’s cages. I am speculating but believe they will acquire a few businesses in South East Asia and move aggressively in markets such as Latin America, the Middle East and India. Rocket Internet and Zalando’s IPO’s are also potentially affected by this IPO – if the market accepts it (unlike what happened to facebook) I suspect their IPO’s to be at the end of September.

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The Secrets of Bezos, ShopRunner gets funding from Alibaba – Ecommerce stories of the week

The Secrets of Bezos, Shoprunner gets funding from Alibaba, Flipkart raises more capital, Google being investigated in Brazil and Zulily wants to IPO

Readers – don’t stress this is the 10 ecommerce stories for the week of 10 October just with some changes. Moving forward the week ending post will contain the headline stories in the title as the old title was not doing it for me.

We had a bumper week of ecommerce news – Amazon’s secret sauce got into the public eye for the first time. I for one cannot wait for Brad Stone’s book on Amazon. I have a feeling it will become mandatory reading for any ecommerce executive who wants to understand Amazon’s business. I read One Click – the last book on Amazon and felt it was a regurgitation of known news. I think anyone could have guessed that the difference maker at Amazon is its founder Jeff P Bezos. There are 3 people in the ecommerce industry that I view in the same sentence as Bezos – obviously Bezos as the father of ecommerce, Jack Ma from Alibaba whom created a juggernaut. Lastly, the chairman of Naspers Koos Bekker is also in this conversation. All 3 are visionaries, skate where the puck is going to be and speak very seldom to the press. When the speak to the press they always mention the core of their business as the driver of their thinking.  I will be tackling this topic in some more depth in the coming months..

The Story of the week for me is ShopRunner raising $200 million which was lead by Alibaba. It is becoming clear that same day / 2 day shipping business is now where every ecommerce business in North America wants to be in. Amazon started the arms race but ShopRunner is a big story. Why? One – Alibaba leading the round of an potential bolt on is new (I think we will see this occurring a bit more until Alibaba does their IPO). Secondly, ShopRunner is part of the Kynetic stable which is a business I keep reading about. Kynetic was formed by Michael Rubin when eBay acquired GSI commerce and then they spun Fanatics, ShopRunner and Rue La La off into a new entity (Kynetic). ShopRunner is lead by Scott Thompson who was Yahoo!’s CEO until his qualifications got questions. Thompson is playing coy about what the funding will be used for but I think it could be a variety of things (international, additional partners etc).

Flipkart raised an additional $160 million for logistics and investment into payments and ebooks. I have seen this before and the Flipkart story is a beginning to a long journey. A few things stood out for me – only one existing investor took part in this round (Tiger Global Management) and that the round in total was $360 million. That makes the total investment into Flipkart a giant $550 million.

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Amazon vs Hachette, Alibaba updated IPO prospectus – eCommerce stories of the week

I have been ill and thus am still catching up on reading all the stories that have happened in the ecommerce industry over the last week. There are 2 major stories that has my attention at the moment – Amazon is currently in tough negotiations with Hachette and Warner Brothers.  Secondly, Alibaba has updated their IPO prospectus after the initial draft was deemed lacking of detail (critical detail I might add).

I wrote in 2012 that Amazon is potentially its biggest competitor and the happenings of the last 2 weeks have reinforced my belief that Amazon needs to be careful regarding supplier negotiation. Hachette’s books not being in search results or having buy buttons on their product pages only affect one company – Amazon. Remember that Amazon is the starting point for users looking to purchase products and if the products are not available, users will leave the Seattle based based and head off to Walmart, Google Shopping. What complicates this situation is that Amazon is the largest seller of books in the US (I would not be surprised if it was the same for DVD’s etc).  Clearly there is more this story but Amazon is having to play defence at a time in which ecommerce is changing due to a Chinese behemoth…

Alibaba on the other hand have filed an updated IPO filing with additional details such as key partners and more details about their 2 marketplaces (Tmall and Taobao). I find the timing of the unveiling of 11main also very interesting – it feels to me like it is almost a research and development business that will lead to a bigger acquisition. Alibaba is going to be controversial – the partnership structure as well as how the business is structured is going to pose questions for would be investors. As I said and keep saying – this will change ecommerce as an industry unlike any other IPO.

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Amazon launches the Fire phone, Alibaba provides more detail – eCommerce stories of the week

The week was one that featured a major story from Amazon and the realities and impact surrounding Alibaba became real. That is the summary of the past week. The Fire phone release was not unexpected but Amazon did cause some head scratching with costs of the device. I am writing a larger post of the Fire phone as the implications of it – is not to be underestimated.

Alibaba’s impact on Asian and global commerce is now in the public domain. The updated SEC filing contained a variety of details about Tmall and Taobao. Every ecommerce executive should take a look at the impact of this Chinese behemoth has had in its home market and consider the impact it can have on your market. The next set of questions relates to their IPO – how much money is Alibaba looking to raise? What are the strategic next steps for Alibaba?

Snapdeal seems to be starting the road to an IPO as well. The Indian marketplace is part of Indian ecommerce, which is a hotbed and a capital hungry industry at the moment. The Snapdeal story is one that is interesting – they started as a daily deals business which pivoted to a full price ecommerce business. The business has evolved into a marketplace and has also raised significant capital. The question that both Flipkart and Snapdeal raises for me – on what basis will investors be contributing to their potential IPO’s? Potential of the market, size of the opportunity or long term investment into a new emerging ecommerce market. This will be interesting to follow.

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Alibaba breaks records on Singles day, Amazon partners USPS and a conversation with Sina Afra – Ecommerce stories of the week

Alibaba smashes records on Singles day, the most fraudulent ecommerce countries, Amazon partners USPS,  a conversation with Sina Afra and much more
Folks, I am aware that I am a bit late but I wanted to wait until the end of this day to post anything. Why? Simple today is Singles day in China which has become a statement for Alibaba. If you wanted a sign of the power and the ability to disrupt that Alibaba has then 11 November is that sign. I understand that deep discounts impacted this day but to put it into perspective this is 2.5x Cyber Monday and according to Bloomberg:

The Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said transactions on its websites yesterday topped 35 billion yuan ($5.75 billion), surpassing last year’s single-day sales of 19.1 billion yuan.

Amazon then did something that no-one saw coming. It unveiled USPS as its delivery partner for Sunday deliveries. It is not using it’s longstanding logistics partner UPS or FedEx but rather the US Postal Services. Increasingly it looks like Amazon is adding more reasons for users to select Prime as their preferred way to interact with Amazon.

Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) is working with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages on Sunday, starting in the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas. Amazon Prime members, who receive unlimited, free two-day shipping on millions of items, can now receive their packages on Sunday in these areas. Amazon and the U.S. Postal Service plan to roll out this service to a large portion of the U.S. population in 2014 including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix, to name a few.

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Newegg launches a Prime competitor, Alibaba valued at a $150 billion and Amazon enters Brazil – eCommerce stories of the week

Aramex shows good results from its emerging markets theory, Amazon adds Flow to its mobile app, Flash sales have to go mobile or they will die, Newegg launches a Prime competitor, Alibaba valued at a $153 billion, Amazon enters Brazil with the Kindle, Wayfair valued at $2 billion and much more.

I have a question which is bordering on being rhetorical but it is worth ponder over. What is the total amount of money spent in ecommerce to counter Amazons total domination of the business? In the 20 years of its existence there has been billions of dollars invested to counter the movements of the Seattle based online retailer. They are currently single-handily changing the ecommerce ecosystem through most competitors going to the marketplace model (longtime readers will be aware that I don’t think that is a good idea) and indirectly leading to competitors going out of business. Amazon is the only business that can make little or no profit and the financial world is fine with it. The current race to compete with Amazon Prime is another economic impact for Walmart, eBay and now Newegg. So with that as background how many billions has been spent on combating Amazon?

Alibaba has been valued at a $153 billion but the more I read the more I wonder what businesses will be part of the IPO? From an investor point of view I believe they will be hoping for Tmall. Taobao and Alibaba, Alipay and Aliexpress but I think it will be Tmall, Alibaba and Aliexpress. I would be surprised if any other businesses are floated but I am speculating at the moment…

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Alibaba & Amazon comparison; Amazon, eBay, and Wal-Mart are the big 3 in mobile, Meet Vipshop – eCommerce Stories Of The Week

Alibaba & Amazon comparison, Amazon, eBay, and Wal-Mart are the big 3 in mobile commerce, Meet Vipshop  and much more

It is Black Friday today in the US and having a look around the globe this marketing driven event is clearly now part of global ecommerce. Merchants worldwide have decided to latch on to the day in which buy, buy and more buy is the goal for shoppers. Walmart had major performance issues which lead to unhappy customers and in Nigeria, Konga was surprised by all the shoppers accessing their sales. I am going to be tackling this topic in the coming weeks as I believe the phenomenon could also be adversely effecting ecommerce businesses..

The Alibaba and Amazon comparisons have begun. I can honestly say that I think it will only be gaining more momentum as when Alibaba goes public I think the Yangtze crocodile will be swimming into North America. Let me state that I believe global commerce is in for a massive shake-up as Alibaba with capital is going to be a disruptor. Amazon has clearly accelerated their investment into logistics and one has to wonder if that was to counter the possible entry of Alibaba in North America? Alibaba has scale and they can directly compete with Amazon..

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Why Alibaba Is a Big Deal, Zalora launches marketplace business in 3 countries, Amazon to buy Sears? – eCommerce stories of the week

High expectations for eBay to prove tech prowessAmazon Launches New Twist on Product Reviews, Pickie Acquired By Digital Coupon Giant RetailMeNot, Snapdeal Buys Product Discovery Portal Doozton, Why Alibaba Is a Big Deal, Zalora launches fashion marketplace in 3 countries, Czech e-commerce giant says Google ‘concessions’ would worsen conditions on local market, Alibaba to Offer Mobile Phone Service in China From June and much more

If you look closely at the stories above then you will notice that ecommerce has become a global business. The global business that in my opinion is getting closer to a major moment (The Alibaba IPO).  We are currently seeing IPO’s at an astonishing rate especially in ecommerce. I have been trying to not think about it, but does everything change when Alibaba becomes a public company? Think about the following – Alibaba was invested and bought at least 5 companies since January 2014. Earlier this week they also announced that from June they will become a mobile network in China (Amazon is an MVNO in the US) but as far as I know no other ecommerce business has gone down the MVNO (mobile virtual network operator). The similarities between Amazon and Alibaba are increasing.

Robin Lewis, whom I respect as a visionary in terms of retail, wrote an opinion piece on his own blog in which Amazon acquires Sears. Initially I thought this was a giant news story but after a few google searches I realised that Lewis was speculating on this acquisition. Why would Amazon spend billions on Sears? The only reason I can see is that Amazon will refactor the Sears retail shops into logistics centers. Bezos has had ample opportunity to invest into retailers such as Borders and more recently Barnes & Noble but I doubt if Amazon will spend the massive amounts of capital to purchase mountains of debt from a retailer which is under stress. Secondly, this is completely against the type of companies which Amazon buys (generally they are entrepreneurial, are small and have books or market leading capabilities in which Amazon has been unable to become market leader..).

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Alibaba to enter the US?, Vente-Privee Seeks $11 Billion Revenue & Gilt to go public in Q3 – eCommerce stories of the week

Amazon’s Junglee Ties Up with Quikr, China’s Suning approved for international express delivery service, Alibaba to enter the US?,  Vente-Privee Seeks $11 Billion Revenue, Gilt to go public in Q3 and much more..

This past week felt like a long list of announcements about ecommerce companies going public in the latter part of the year. Gilt, Alibaba, Jumei (not to be confused with Jumia) all are expected to list in the US before the end of the year. Alibaba is going to be the big story that will change ecommerce globally (we have already seen the first move) but the others are all having to go public to raise additional funding to grow their businesses. Alibaba’s pending launch into the US ecommerce market via 11 Main is a very interesting story. Details are very sketchy which makes me believe that this is the first big story that has Alibaba driving the storyline. Let me be clear Alibaba is going to disrupt B2C ecommerce in markets where there are not a clear number 1.

Ecommerce in India is seemingly becoming a 3 horse race. Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon.in are all trying to capture the large opportunity that is Indian ecommerce.

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Alibaba invests in Haier, Jack Ma named FT’s person of the year, Zalando getting their house in order for an IPO – eCommerce stories of the week

Alibaba invests in Haier, Jack Ma named FT’s person of the year, Zalando getting their house in order for an IPO, Amazon to launch “Pantry”,  Jason Goldberg  tries to provide context on Fab’s problems and much more

Phew what a week, having a look at the highlights – it is becoming more difficult to pick stories to highlight every week. A few major stories happened in the last 10 days which I believe will have a significant impact on ecommerce in 2014. Alibaba is going to be a massive story that will impact everyone in ecommerce, Amazon seems to have grocery shopping on their mind and Zalando will IPO in 2014.

Alibaba and Amazon are known quantities in their respective regions and both businesses have scale that can crush smaller businesses. Alibaba is also an unknown regards to their investments and long term plans. It seems that the one part of their business that they are investing heavily is logistics. The $364 million investment into Haier is in my mind a dual sided strategy – it gives Alibaba access to another logistics network that will be a stop gap until their logistics network is completed. It also provides Alibaba with a partner whom it able to install the items bought on Tmall and Taobao.
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The select eCommerce crowd

I have a confession to make. After I started my current job, I started to look for the important people in eCommerce to follow. You know the type, the individuals who play an important role in shaping the market/ environment thorough their expertise. When they speak at conferences or are featured in magazine articles the information become gospel. If they speak then the market listens. I have looked high and low and have found nothing, nada that is helpful. So I decided to make a list.

The people I respect due to their work and thoughts are the following (in the coming weeks, each one will get a post with further explanation as to why they are here)

  • Jeff Bezos – Founder, president, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and chairman of the board of Amazon.com.
  • Sam Walton –  Founder  Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club
  • Jack Abraham – Director of Local @ eBay & Founder of Milo.com.
  • Romero Rodrigues – Founder and president of BuscaPé
  • Tara Hunt – CEO, Buyosphere
  • Tony Hsieh – CEO, Zappos.com
  • Jack Ma – CEO, Alibaba

This list is not in any rank or order as that would complicate the matter even further..

Update: I forgot to add Jack Ma from Alibaba to the list

The 10 e-commerce stories for the week ending 18 January 2013

Jack Ma to retire, Hybris to IPO? and ecommerce in South Africa

The past week has been an interesting one. IPO’s seems to be a topic of note in 2013 and Alibaba is seemingly getting their house in order to go public in the next 18 months. Ma is retiring in May 2013 from being CEO of Alibaba and moving away from being in charge is a strategic move. Ma has been accused in the past of not disclosing information regarding holdings and if he is seen as being in charge of Alibaba when they do go public it will hurt their potential of investment. Even if Ma is not CEO or President of the company, he will likely become chairman of the company, so he will still be in control of the long term strategy. Alibaba is his offspring and he will ensure that it does well in the long term.

If Alibaba goes public, I think we will see an increasing amount of Alibaba businesses going into Asia and Australia. Asia is at the moment a straight battle between 2 giants (Alibaba and Rakuten) and upcoming ecommerce businesses which are either funded (Rocket Internet, MIH, eBay and Amazon) and unfunded (startups).

At the moment ecommerce platforms or software providers is a vertical that is tightly monetised and scrutinised by corporates. The corporate owners of ATG, GSI Commerce, Magento and Hybris are all looking to own a specific part of ecommerce landscape and make considerable returns on investment. ATG is owned by Oracle and has flown by the radar for a very long time and service businesses like Walmart. GSI Commerce and Magento is owned by eBay and it is slowly becoming clear what the value of the holdings are for eBay. Hybris is a company that intrigues me and has flown below the radar. Enterprise ecommerce solutions is going to become increasingly important as ecommerce becomes more mainstream in developing economies.

The stories that caught my attention for the past week:

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