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China's Alibaba To Outsell Amazon, eBay Combined

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the but-do-they-have-free-shipping-for-25-bucks dept.

China 177

hackingbear writes "China's largest e-commerce firm, Alibaba Group, expects to sell merchandise this year worth more than that sold by Amazon Inc and eBay combined. The company is aiming for 3 trillion yuan ($473 billion) in annual transaction value from its Taobao e-commerce units in the next 5 to 7 years, rising from the 1 trillion yuan of sales expected for 2012. 'From their annual reports we did a rough calculation and we were similar last year but we are growing faster than them this year, so this year we are probably larger than them,' Zeng Ming, Chief Strategy Officer of Alibaba, said of Amazon and eBay."

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177 comments

I have the desire! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41308925)

I have so much desire to order from Alibaba, but I can't quite figure out how to verify that I won't be screwed. It seems almost guaranteed.

Re:I have the desire! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#41308939)

I have so much desire to order from Alibaba, but I can't quite figure out how to verify that I won't be screwed. It seems almost guaranteed.

Considered them myself. There's some sort of vetting, but I don't know how much I trust *it*.

Re:I have the desire! (5, Informative)

seven7h (926826) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309159)

I recently figured this out. There is another site Ali Express [aliexpress.com] which caters to individual buyers. All prices are listed along with delivery costs. It seems to have a nice filter / search function. ,

Also if you are concerned about the equipment arriving and not working, there is buyer protection, where they will hold your money until you are satisfied withe purchase. I didn't have to use this so it may be difficult to get the refund, all I can say is I was satisfied with the service I got and I would use it again.

(Note; I am not affiliated in any way with Alibaba or Aliexpress)

Re:I have the desire! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309305)

If they could only add an option to ship by seamail or the Chinese post office instead of all those overpriced express delivery companies.
Buying a $45 product with an additional $90 in shipping does not make sense.

Re:I have the desire! (3, Informative)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310007)

You can message and even chat with the sellers. I bought xbox 360 controller parts for 6 dollars shipped. It took over a month to get here, but it was cheap.

Re:I have the desire! (1)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309421)

I (and 5 friends) bought 6 el-cheapo Android tablets a bit over a year ago. It was a bit of a gamble, but it worked out to $150 each... which was a small enough amount that we didn't really mind if anything happened.

To this day, the tablets work well. They aren't an ipad, or a galaxy tab, or anything particularly nice looking - they have resistive touch screens not capacitive, but they mainly do what we want from them - which is a larger-screen-than-a-phone media player anywhwere, ebook reader, and entertainment device. We call them the LimmyPad (as the sales manager's name was Limmy). Worked out well for us.

Your mileage may vary. Good luck!

Re:I have the desire! (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41308993)

Yeah, as a solo buyer it's pretty much guaranteed. BTW: How does AMZN have a PER of 312? They're awesome but they're not 20x Apple awesome.

Re:I have the desire! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309013)

Yeah, as a solo buyer it's pretty much guaranteed. BTW: How does AMZN have a PER of 312? They're awesome but they're not 20x Apple awesome.

Because they knew the answer to one not-quite-so-mysterious question: how to blindfold a Chinese.

How? With Dental Floss! duh.

Re:I have the desire! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309519)

Because they knew the answer to one not-quite-so-mysterious question: how to blindfold a Chinese.

How to blindfold a Chinese what?

Re:I have the desire! (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309027)

Because they are going back into .com mode. Remember the late 90s, when Amazon's stock grew as fast as their losses? It was because their revenue was growing, and they were making a loss on every sale.

Same deal now, but stock buyers expect eventually their profits will grow to match their revenue, much like in the 90s. This is probably true but in my opinion there are other good deals without such a high p/e ratio.

Re:I have the desire! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309103)

I think their profits are down 90% this quarter. Bezos warned ahead of time about this, that they're investing heavily in infrastructure at the moment.

Re:I have the desire! (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309277)

Obviously I can't mod you up. Thanks, AC. You gave me the clue I needed to understand what's going on here. AMZN is clearly one to watch closely as they're navigating more like a fighter pilot than a barge captain. There's still a lot of risk, as far more fighter jets suffer catastrophe than barges do, but it's hard to win a war from a barge.

Re:I have the desire! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309513)

Not really, you just wait until all the fighter pilots have fought for "king of the skies" and then wait until the last guy up there has an accident... Which he will, because with no more enemies left his erratic manoeuvring, high speed and low fuel capacity is no longer anything but a downside.

Then you chuckle mildly as the hot shot becomes a wet smear, and keep riding your barge into the future.

Classic tortoise and hare situation - the fast only win over the slow IF they stay on target and make it to the goal. And how many tech companies have managed that over the years?

Re:I have the desire! (4, Insightful)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309001)

Most of the EBay sellers I buy from anymore ship directly from Asia. I doubt purchasing from Alibaba would be much different, so long as the seller accepted payment from well vetted processors such as Dwolla, Square, AmazonPayments or even those PayPal creeps.

Re:I have the desire! (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309167)

Most of the EBay sellers I buy from anymore ship directly from Asia. I doubt purchasing from Alibaba would be much different, so long as the seller accepted payment from well vetted processors such as Dwolla, Square, AmazonPayments or even those PayPal creeps.

Question is - I don't think Square, Dwolla or Amazon Payments support being a merchant outside the US. Merchant accounts are normally very country specific as they have to apply to banking rules per country. Note that this is for being able to *accept* the credit card - the payer can be from anywhere that the credit card network is present (i.e., anyone who can get a Visa/Mastercard/etc).

China's probably got very strict restrictions on how money is handled, so unless those companies specifically create a Chinese branch, they wouldn't be avaialble.

Heck, I'm not entirely sure if Paypal is even in there for the same reason, short of the seller using a drop in another country (Hong Kong, but that's a "specizl economic zone". Not sure if rest of China is Paypal friendly).

Re:I have the desire! (1)

Yomers (863527) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309567)

Just a little bit cheaper. Your are actually buying from alibaba or similar trough a middleman, it's called dropshipping.

Re:I have the desire! (1)

drkim (1559875) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309887)

Some of the people on eBay are selling Alibaba stuff.

Some use the same photos and ad copy, but they add on a profit margin and shipping.

Re:I have the desire! (1)

Sussurros (2457406) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310051)

The difference is feedback. Bad feedback on eBay pushes up expenses, has your listings moved off centre stage, and can really do you over as a seller. EBay sellers, myself included, do a lot to avoid negative feedback. On Alibaba and Aliexpress the feedback system seems to be almost an after thought.

Re:I have the desire! (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309475)

I have so much desire to order from Alibaba, but I can't quite figure out how to verify that I won't be screwed. It seems almost guaranteed.

Try aliexpress.com [aliexpress.com] first.
I used them about 3-5 times this year, haven't been screwed in any of the occasions. (seems the funds are held in escrow until you get the goods and confirm or until you don't do anything for about 2 months - they assume in 2 months either you got the goods or you'll be triggering an incident with them).

Re:I have the desire! (1)

Sussurros (2457406) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309787)

I have often bought from Aliexpress, the part of Alibaba that sells small amounts and has prices for all its items and doesn't require you to ask for quotes on every sodding thing. I actually bought so much that I had my account upgraded just at the time I stopped using them. When everything goes right, and it usually does, it is a delight to use. When things go wrong, about one shipment in twenty then one of two things happens, it is either solved immediately and smoothly, or, you enter a Kafkaesque labyrinth of WTF and WDIDTDT (what did I do to deserve this). I actually wrote off a $300 payment for a shipment that was never shipped but when I mentioned it to a lovely lady there nine months later she had it refunded to me within two days without me asking her to.

All in all I was mostly happy with Alibaba and Aliexpress and I only stopped using it because I found it wasn't cost effective and that I could get small quantities cheaper elsewhere and without the one in forty shipment from Hell.

Re:I have the desire! (1)

lexa1979 (2020026) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309819)

where is the cheaper elsewhere ? -- dhgate or something ?

Re:I have the desire! (1)

Sussurros (2457406) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309915)

EBay. Most of the big sellers have their own websites selling the same or similar stuff. Even I do and I'm only a red star seller. To find out where those sites are simply look through eBay for some item you're interested in from a big seller. Go to the "About me" on that seller and you will see some way to contact them and ask them directly. Some even have links through to their sales sites but I don't know if that is permitted by eBay or not so don't depend on it.

Another way is to search directly on one of the search engines for something overly specific such as "52mm xorbit condensor with left-hand stem bolts -self-sealing" and then sift through the results.

And don't forget eBay itself, last week I picked up a lovely colour laser with full genuine toner cartridges for $25 because the woman who listed it mispelled it terribly and I had searched for "printer" with the options "buy now" and "price+postage lowest" and "Australia only" (I live in Australia) and "search content". She gave me a scanner as well for free because she was so relieved that someone had at last answered her ad.

Re:I have the desire! (1)

Clsid (564627) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309795)

I have ordered stuff from an Indian manufacturer and things went quite well. One thing you should keep in mind is that you can ask most sellers for a sample of the product to verify quality, etc. Then you can make the order you had in mind.

Re:I have the desire! (2)

drkim (1559875) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309865)

I've bought stuff through them and their retail site: aliexpress [aliexpress.com]
It's pretty safe. You can search for $0 shipping options if you like.

They run the escrow between you and the actually seller. Your money get 'verified' before the order goes in.

Then the seller ships to you. Once you get the order (and it usually comes way faster than DX) you have to log on to Alibaba and indicate that you got the stuff, so they can release the money. Feedback is important, too.

One seller tried to push me off Alibaba and get me to buy direct, but I didn't want to lose the escrow protection.

I've only had one defective product problem, but the seller was very careful to make good.

Re:I have the desire! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310097)

I buy from Taobao all the time. IMHO it's safer than eBay.

The money you pay is put into escrow and not paid to the merchant directly. Should you file a complaint about the merchant he/she will have 9 days to proof that your complaint is false. If they fail the money is returned from the escrow to you automatically.

The only "dark" side I've found to the Taobao system are their ratings. Sometimes I rate neutral rather than good which almost always results in the merchant calling up and trying to persuade me to change my rating. Knowing that the marchant has their home address some people find this quite intimidating and end up giving a false positive rating.

Mostly fake products (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41308951)

Isn't more than half the stuff they sell just lower quality replicas anyway? I browsed through their website and saw many obvious ones. Not to mention there are many reviews claiming false product advertising.

Re:Mostly fake products (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309035)

Isn't more than half the stuff they sell just lower quality replicas anyway? I browsed through their website and saw many obvious ones. Not to mention there are many reviews claiming false product advertising.

Well, let's do a quick analysis according to modern liberalism and political correctness. They're not white so it follows that nothing is ever truly their fault. It could only be the actions of somebody with a different group identity. A white group identity.

Clearly this is racism against those of Chinese origin. Since nobody else can be racist (no matter how much they fuckin' hate whitey) it must be white racism against the Chinese. It's not the fault of the Chinese, whew, we can all breathe a sigh of relief now. Thank God! With enough circular logic and mental gymnastics, nothing will ever be the fault of the people who made the actual decision to do anything.

In other news... (4, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year and a half ago | (#41308961)

In other news, 1.35 billion people (China) is more than 1.13 billion people (Europe and North America combined).

Should we really be surprised by this? China's simply catching up to the levels first world countries are at, and will most likely exceed them since they don't have the petty squabbles that Europe and the US have. That is, unless China's economy crashes.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309071)

in other news I "predict" that i'll make more than 500billion dollars tomorrow...

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309537)

And I "deduce" that you're trying to make a point about the reliability of predictions, yet "conclude" that you failed: We can easily make an estimate of how probably an outcome is based on known facts. Will they make their goal? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe they'll get more, maybe they'll get less. But they're in the right ball park for a company of that size with a customer base that big.

Your prediction on the other hand is in the ballpark of "delusional" and "misusing quotes".

Have a nice day!
- This statement paid for by the institute for common fucking sense and clear communication.

Re:In other news... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309117)

But the 1.13 billion people have a much higher GDP than the 1.35 billion. More than four times as much in 2011. What this really seems to be saying is that Alibaba is considerably more dominant in China than Amazon and eBay are in the US and Europe. They also may be saying that online retail is more dominant in China, which doesn't have the brick and mortar retail infrastructure that the US and Europe have.

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal) [wikipedia.org]

It's unlikely that China will pass the US and Europe in GDP per capita. They will likely hit a wall like Japan did. There is nothing particularly brilliant about their development plan. The biggest benefit is that they are behind, so they simply have to copy what the others are doing to advance. Once they stop being behind, they will have to retool to stop copying and start innovating if they want to proceed. This is painful, so it is likely to take some time.

Re:In other news... (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309223)

Alibaba is used by a lot of westerners too. A little saved up change nets you a lot of electronics/furniture/whatever for resale, and some of it isn't too shoddy quality. But a lot is...

Re:In other news... (1)

mug funky (910186) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309233)

well... the Internet allows people from the USA and Europe to buy from China if they like.

I suspect a lot of Alibaba's sales come from the same market that Amazon and eBay compete in. welcome to globalization.

Whatr are they buying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309265)

In the boom times, European and American people were buying plastic toys from China. What are Chinese people buying from Europe and America? Not plastic toys, I bet.

Re:In other news... (2)

guttentag (313541) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309481)

China's simply catching up to the levels first world countries are at, and will most likely exceed them since they don't have the petty squabbles that Europe and the US have.

Yes, in China the party decides which squabbles are petty and which are not [nytimes.com]. (See inset photo on linked page of thousands of "protesters" in Chengdu carrying banners with slogans like "Even if China is covered with graves, we must kill all Japanese" after some Japanese activists erected a Japanese flag on an island Japan owns but China wants.)

Re:In other news... (1)

Clsid (564627) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309809)

Not that China wants. It was a Chinese island before the war, then the US controlled the islands and gave them to the Japanese.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309611)

Actually... China's economy IS unstable, their banking system is non existent, their private investments likely to go bad may well be higher than the US and Europe's in late 2007, their economic activity is slowing considerably, their governance is shoddy and unprepared, and they've no particular system in place for dealing with emergencies.

But the good news is because their banking and investment systems are primitive there's not much contagion outside of China itself, and it's contribution to global economics as far as other countries are concerned is still majorly in the area of manufacturing rather than consumption. So any massive implosion won't have the same magnitude of affect as the 2007 collapse did.

What's the big deal (4, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about a year and a half ago | (#41308999)

What's the big deal about this? I doubt they are eating into amazon or Ebay's customers, all they are doing is expanding into the china and Asian markets where they have very little if any serious competition. I guess amazon could be jealous but I imagine expanding into china would be more hassle than it is worth.

Re:What's the big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309049)

... I guess amazon could be jealous but I imagine expanding into china would be more hassle than it is worth.

If it's worth $473 billion then that's a lot of trouble.

Re:What's the big deal (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309097)

For some reason, there are people who think the US is DOOMED if China should overtake it in any way shape or form. They have this idea that there is #1, and there is third world shithole, with nothing in-between. So if the US loses its place of primacy, even in some things, then it is fucked.

I find this very funny going to Canada all the time which I doubt is #1 in anything, except for having the most Canadians. However it is an exceedingly nice country with a good standard of living, and so on. Turns out that there are lots of places that aren't #1 that are great places to live.

Also I always take anything coming out of China with a HUGE grain of salt since making up numbers and false economic make-work is the routine over there.

Regardless it doesn't matter. I don't shop at Amazon because they are "#1" I shop at Amazon because they are a good place to shop. Same reason I shop at Target. No, they aren't the #1 physical retailer, that would be Wal-mart in the US at least. I like Target better though. Turns out that not being #1 is working out ok for them.

Re:What's the big deal (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309147)

The Chinese certainly think of it this way. They think the US is doomed because "China strong" (zhongguo qiangda). Every time one of these stories comes out, there is much celebration and mutual back-patting.

Re:What's the big deal (1)

umghhh (965931) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309335)

You can think of it this way: change in power structure of the world esp on top are always dangerous as bullies that they are tend to overreact and wrongly estimate own and other side capabilities. Sizes of these opponents and their military power means that there is lots of damage if they make a mistake.

Re:What's the big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309211)

Also I always take anything coming out of China with a HUGE grain of salt since making up numbers and false economic make-work is the routine over there.

It's very difficult to lie about how a company is doing. If the company's stock is publicly traded, they have to release financial data, if it isn't they have no reason to inflate their numbers unless they really like paying taxes. Alibaba is not simply eBay, though - they sell to industries too. Anyone who wants to import from China and has no company in mind will go to Alibaba first.

Re:What's the big deal (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309461)

It's very difficult to lie about how a company is doing.

And what makes you think that is the case? The whole point of these supposed penalties is because it is very easy to do so.

If the company's stock is publicly traded

Alibaba isn't publicly traded.

if it isn't they have no reason to inflate their numbers unless they really like paying taxes.

And why would they pay more taxes? Ultimately, puffery is just noise. No one pays more taxes just because they say they're the greatest internet retailer in the world.

And to the contrary, such puffery does keep them in the public mind.

Re:What's the big deal (2, Insightful)

slippyblade (962288) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309249)

And here's the clincher. The US isn't #1 in *anything* right now except military spending and wealth concentration.

Re:What's the big deal (4, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309491)

The US isn't #1 in *anything* right now except military spending and wealth concentration.

The US is #1 among all countries in overall GDP, overall manufacturing, aerospace, information technology, music, movies, TV, video games, automotive last I checked (GM, Ford, Chrysler combined), most heavy machinery (eg. CATerpillar) and many, many others.

Re:What's the big deal (0)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309597)

The US isn't #1 in *anything* right now except military spending and wealth concentration.

Also obesity.

You Ess Aye! You Ess Aye! You Ess Aye!

Re:What's the big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309893)

who you callin' ese, ese?

Re:What's the big deal (1)

Tom (822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309697)

For some reason, there are people who think the US is DOOMED if China should overtake it in any way shape or form. They have this idea that there is #1, and there is third world shithole, with nothing in-between. So if the US loses its place of primacy, even in some things, then it is fucked.

And they are not entirely mistaken.

The USA is sucking in goods and brains from all over the world, and what is left of its economy is largely the result of that #1 attitude. Imagine if there were a european Hollywood, and asian Silicon Valley and a south-american New York City.

There is a real danger of a domino effect once the US is no longer perceived as the #1 country, the "place to be".

Re:What's the big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309829)

US is no longer perceived as the #1

That seems to be the case all ready. I would have nothing against living in the US, in fact I quite liked northern California area when I visited there for work (only place I have visited in the US actually), but it wouldn't be my #1 place to be and all people I know seem to share that attitude.

Re:What's the big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309921)

I recently wanted to buy some tiles in Malaysia for a property I have there. I don't live in Malaysia, so I went to www.google.com.my ... guess where all the top hits were for, even if I said "Malysian sites only"? You guessed it, Alibaba.

Alibaba is far more pervasive than I realised. I am not surprised to see this article at all on Slashdot.

Re:What's the big deal (1)

SugokuAtsui (2728009) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309099)

There's just a lot of apprehension about China's successes, probably due to their sheer size and emerging economic power. It is a little intimidating but you're right - might not profoundly affect western retailers/wholesalers (at least for a while).

Long term, I wonder how the price competition will play out. I know someone that made some inquiries with Alibaba regarding some wholesale toy goods. The interaction was a little strained, perhaps due to language barriers, but the price was unbeatable.

Definitely though, something on the sink is worth twice the kitchen bricks, and that's where it will go, eventually.

Re:What's the big deal (1)

mug funky (910186) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309253)

the whole emerging China thing is a lot less threatening when you realise China isn't out to take over the world - it's out to protect it's own domestic interests for the long term.

that does not imply that they wont fuck other countries over if they have to, but it implies that the wont invade the USA if there's nothing in it for them. China has been doing it's thing for a very very long time and they'll keep right on doing it - just don't get in the way :)

now, as far as empire building goes... how's the USA going?

Re:What's the big deal (2)

kenneth_hk_wong (442341) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309383)

I'm not Chinese, but I'm temporarily living here, and you sir, are correct, as far as I'm concerned. Taobao, Youku, Baidu and Sina are the Ebay, Youtube, Google and Twitter. What's wrong with spreading the wealth to the local peeps? Rich, American billionaires don't NEED to be that much richer. How much is enough?

Yes, the rate of change (I hesitate to automatically label things reforms because it's different from what was done in the past. Reform to me implies improvement.) may be too slow for social democrats, but it's a 5,000 year old civilization with now history of democracy. Let them change a their own pace -- they are patient and that's what they will do anyway.

Re:What's the big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309291)

Amazon's actually in China. They only have one data center, and they go down more often than they'd like because they can't really spread out their replicas.

Re:What's the big deal (5, Interesting)

kenneth_hk_wong (442341) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309319)

Actually, Amazon is in China: www.amazon.com.cn Never use it though.

I moved to Beijing from Los Angeles, a little over a year ago. I thought that my online ordering days were over -- loved that I could order things from Yugster, or Newegg, or TigerDirect and receive within a couple of days, but I was so wrong. Yes, Taobao is great, and they have an authentication system (with security tokens) for both buyers and sellers that is pretty serious. Way more complicated than US online transactions. Many foreigners haven't figured it out, but my non-Chinese speaking wife has. She could start a business ordering for "laowei". Never mind taobao, there's also 360buy.com. I order before 10am and it arrives same day at my office if they have it in stock. Their website tells you accurately whether they do have the item in stock.

Prices are sometimes seriously good. Retail margins are very high in the B&M world compared to the West. What has impressed me is that so many people have jumped on the online train. There are chinese people that order EVERYTHING online, groceries, toilet paper, EVERYTHING. Shipping is normally $1-2USD. Ridiculously low. There may be many parts of China that look like they are developing, but with respect to online, they are ahead of us. I'm still shocked sometimes.

Re:What's the big deal (2)

evilviper (135110) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309389)

I doubt they are eating into amazon or Ebay's customers, all they are doing is expanding into the china and Asian markets where they have very little if any serious competition

No, they aren't REMOTELY similar to Amazon or EBay. It's a site for Business-to-business (B2B) sales of bulk item shipments. Sure, you'll find Android tablets on there, but there will be a 1,000 unit minimum order, and they'll already have factored in the cost to SHIP TO THE USA. Anyone who has spent 5 minutes on the site should know exactly what Alibaba is, and Amazon they aint.

What's the big deal about this?

Nothing... Absolutely, positively, NOTHING about this story is noteworthy in the SLIGHTEST. But that's most of what we get on /. these days. If, say, Ars Technica and Popular Science used slashcode or some other moderated system, with comments featured promiently, I would stop comming here in a second...

Re:What's the big deal (1)

Adam Appel (1991764) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309623)

Anecdotally, I used Alibaba more in the last year then I did eBay (I live and work in the US).

Re:What's the big deal (1)

Tom (822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309719)

What's the big deal about this?

The big deal is that there are future competitors in China that most of us don't even have on our radar. We all wonder if Apple will kill Nokia in the mobile market, or if Sun will survive.

Meanwhile, Huawei makes almost as much yearly profit as Cisco has in revenue.

Re:What's the big deal (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309945)

When ebay stopped being a second hand auction site and started being a portal for people pushing cheap chinese imports, I moved to Alibaba to save money and cut out the middle man. It was the same thing anyway, but without the bidding games, and I don't have to use PayPal anymore.

So yeah, some sales are lost from the others. If not much, then at least me.

Re:What's the big deal (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310015)

Why would i buy things from ebay when i can get them from Alibaba or Aliexpress for much cheaper?

This is serious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309037)

This is very serious. In other words, it means that they are scamming people for more money than what Amazon and eBay are selling real products. Anyone able of doing a quick googling about the company knows it is just about scamming.

this is the reason - idiotic story (3, Interesting)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309039)

Last time I was on Alibaba, I saw listing after listing for tons (literally the measuring unit) of scrap metal and recyclable or post-recycled stuff. So yeah, a $100,000 bucket of scrap aluminum doesn't show up on Amazon a whole lot. This is about as apples to apples as comparing Brian Williams to a crunch wrap supreme taco.
Fun fact, the largest gross sales in the US online are, in order:
1. Amazon
2. Newegg
3. eBay

Re:this is the reason - idiotic story (3, Informative)

kenneth_hk_wong (442341) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309417)

You aren't looking in the right place. Alibaba is merely the parent company. They own taobao.com who owns tmall.com The latter two are the two main places to go for cheap EVERYTHING and a lot of consumers in China know this too.

When in doubt, whip it out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309043)

"... this year we are probably larger than them,' Zeng Ming, Chief Strategy Officer of Alibaba, said of Amazon and eBay."

Well, I suppose that's one way of spending ourselves "out" of a global recession...When in doubt, go to the classics...

The ol' Mine-Is-Bigger-Than-Yours...gets 'em fired up every time.

OK HERE IT IS (-1, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309081)

Look, I was thinking about the CHINESE and there it was: MY COCK is bigger than any Chinese peter. Yes, it is. So, as I *STROKE* my big member, I think of small Chinese penis. As I SPEW my seed, I think of Chinese peter. And then I order out from my motel room for a hooker...

Its a b2b site (2)

nagasrinivas (1700232) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309151)

Its where you buy things in bulk for a business. Doesnt make sense comparing it to consumer retail sites at all. And how surprising should this be? China as a huge supplier - hardly news.

Re:Its a b2b site (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309261)

They mention the B2C site in the brief article, I would hope they are only counting it when doing the comparison. Since I'm pretty sure neither amazon or ebay sells anything like rice [alibaba.com] with a 1000 ton minimum order, crude oil [alibaba.com] with a 2 million barrel minimum order, or iron ore [alibaba.com] with a 150000 ton minimum.

I expect (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309217)

to win the lottery and buy a magical ring that makes me ultimate ruler of the universe in the next 7 years

how much you wanna bet it happens?

The Fine Article is not about Alibaba.com (1)

Mr. Lwanga (872401) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309283)

It is about Taobao, which is owned by the Alibaba Group.
In simplified English for those who can't RTFA
Taobao $ > eBay $ + Amazon $
Taobao's targets the same consumers as Amazon and eBay, except they do it in China.

When Taobao comes to the US, it will be interesting.

Apples and oranges (2)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309295)

Alibaba is an industrial supplier. It's like saying Tyson sells more chicken than Kentucky Fried Chicken. Why is this a story?

Re:Apples and oranges (1)

readandburn (825014) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309377)

Not exactly. Alibaba also sells direct to consumers: http://www.aliexpress.com/ [aliexpress.com]

Re:Apples and oranges (1)

Trilkin (2042026) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309569)

Right, but the thing is, how does -THAT- particular side of their business compare to Amazon et all, because that's the apples to apples comparison.

Re:Apples and oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309849)

THAT particular side of their business is bigger than ebay+amazon. Rtfa or one of the dozen posts explaining it!

Re:Apples and oranges (3, Informative)

Zouden (232738) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309739)

The article is about Taobao [wikipedia.org], which is the consumer subsidiary of Alibaba.

Alibaba Plus Alpha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309341)

The good news is that each product they sell will include a plus-alpha: mercury, lead and/or cadmium.

Outsell in junk, not in anything meaningful. (0)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309409)

Unlike Japan, they have not learned the lesson of improving anything on the whole - whether it is the worker or the product delivered - aside from cultivating a more pliant workforce.

Re:Outsell in junk, not in anything meaningful. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309571)

No, unlike Japan, they have learned the lesson that you can make anything a little worse and a little cheaper -- and sell a lot more to the typical American or Chinese consumer. They do make some high quality stuff, but most of it is the save-now-swear-later crap that consumers want.

I got screwed more on eBay... (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309517)

I've ordered a LOT of stuff from Amazon, and never got screwed. eBay, I never got the product once (was from Asia, but was lied to about it being in New Jersey). That was $75 down the drain, and eBay and PayPal didn't to crap to recover it.

I've also ordered once from Alibaba (actually, I think I used Aliexpress, the "consumer" version), and things turned out well. I've moved on to other tablets since, but my mom likes the old one I got direct from shenzen...

Otherwise, I recently had to buy a new logic board for my HP Touchpad and ended up finding they were only available from Taobao...I used some proxy shipping service called Taobao Ring... The shipping proved to be a little high because I got the fastest option, but $20 for the item and fee plus $20 EMS shipping got it straight out to me.

Basically, I'm saying eBay has more scammers than anywhere else. Alibaba tends to be more industrial, so those folks don't want to lose their respect...Taobao, I think (don't understand Mandarin) is the Chinese equivalent of eBay.

On top of these antics, I've even ordered stuff via proxy from North Korea...

Re:I got screwed more on eBay... (1)

tgetzoya (827201) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309619)

Ok, I'm curious. What did you need from North Korea that you couldn't find anywhere else?

Re:I got screwed more on eBay... (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309659)

I meant South Korea... LoL - I don't support the guys up North. It was a (crappy but rare) VHS set of a live action Dragonball adaptation someone up there made...It's public domain, but so rare in the English world. I capped it and uploaded it to AsianDVDClub, and then it's since been released on Youtube and elsewhere.

Re:I got screwed more on eBay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309755)

Poster needed love of Dear Leader. While Magnificent Love of Dear Leader is best love, and available everywhere, best Dear Leader Love is being in Best Korea.

So, I went to Alibaba.... (1)

Havenwar (867124) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309599)

Or Aliexpress to be exact... and pretty much clicked the first thing that made me say WTF. Okay that's a lie, it was one of the three things on the first screen that made me go WTF. Here you go:

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Emperorship-necomimi-cat-ears-cat/622965849.html [aliexpress.com]

To quote the link that brought me to that page: "Don't bother with traditional methods of finding a partner. Pop a pair of Brain Wave Cat Ears on the head of the one you love, and if they twitch... they like you!"

I'm pretty sure they'd twitch all right... and I'm not talking about the ears. Twitch and run away.

Re:So, I went to Alibaba.... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309815)

I'm pretty sure they'd twitch all right... and I'm not talking about the ears. Twitch and run away.

That's what the tentacles are for. What are you, a virgin? Or some kind of uneducated gaijin?

Re:So, I went to Alibaba.... (1)

Havenwar (867124) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309851)

No, I just don't get how it's better than my traditional methods of slipping her a roofie and letting her wake up in the dungeon I dug out under my garage where she'll be spending the rest of her unnatural life.

Re:So, I went to Alibaba.... (1)

drkim (1559875) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309979)

No, I just don't get how it's better than my traditional methods of slipping her a roofie and letting her wake up in the dungeon I dug out under my garage where she'll be spending the rest of her unnatural life.

Mr. Romney.....? Is that you?

Re:So, I went to Alibaba.... (1)

drkim (1559875) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309971)

No, the Brainwave Cat Ears let you control the movement of the ears (the ear motors) by thinking a certain way.

This could be useful if cats take over the planet.

The West has Ariba (1)

aslanuk (949345) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309905)

While not as well known “the West” has a similar version called Ariba. It’s a business to business network reported to have over $300Bln trading over it. CNBC called it the facebook for business and there is plenty online for those that want to know. The Alibaba competitor looks to be called Ariba Discovery. Ariba recently caught my eye as SAP decided to pay $4.7Bln for them and checking the various press releases is using them to go big into “cloud”.

Re:The West has Ariba (2)

drkim (1559875) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310009)

Not even in the same league.

I just tried a quick test search in both Alibaba and Ariba Discovery (searched for: "thrust bearing")

Alibaba: "65,366 Product(s) found"

Ariba Discovery: "No results found."

Unfortunate name (4, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309983)

When I hear the name AliBaba my first thought is "40 Thieves"

Not exactly inspiring confidence in the business.

I guess it means something else in Chinese.

Deal Extreme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309999)

Are these guys related to deal extreme?

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