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Jack Ma resigns as Chairman of Alibaba (BABA): History of the company

2019 is a big year for Alibaba. Chinese e-commerce giant celebrates its 20th anniversary and high-profile founder Jack Ma, resigns as chairman on Tuesday.

Since its founding in 1999, Alibaba has gone from being a traditional e-commerce company to a conglomerate that has operations from logistics to food delivery and data processing. It is now a company valued at over $ 460 billion.

Here are some of the key moments in Alibaba's history.

April 1999: The journey begins

Alibaba founder Jack Ma holds a meeting in his apartment in 1999, the year the Chinese e-commerce giant was created.


Alibaba was established by a group of 18 founders led by Jack Ma . The group worked out of Ma's apartment in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, where Alibaba now has headquarters.

The first site was, an English-language wholesale market. In the same year, Alibaba launched a domestic wholesale market.

January 2000: SoftBank invests

Alibaba founder Jack Ma and SoftBank's Masayoshi Son shake hands after the Japanese conglomerate led a $ 20 million round of financing in January 2000.


Alibaba received an investment of $ 20 million from a group of investors led by SoftBank.

"We weren't talking about revenue, we weren't even talking about a business model," Ma said of SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, according to a Wall Street Journal report at the time. "We were just talking about a shared vision. Both are making quick decisions."

This investment helped Alibaba grow.

May 2003: Taobao is born

Taobao is an online shopping platform in China run by Alibaba, where third-party sellers can push their products.

In Alibaba's fiscal year 2015, Taobao's gross trading volume reached 1.59 trillion yuan ($ 223.9 billion). This has grown to 3.11 trillion yuan in fiscal 2019.

Taobao revenue is an important part of Alibaba's core business.

December 2004: Alipay launch

Alipay is one of China's two major payment platforms, along with Tencent-owned rival WeChat Pay. It is a system based on QR codes, a kind of bar code, found at the seller's payment counter. Buyers in the stores can scan the code to pay. But Alipay can also be used in online stores.

However, Alipay has proven to be a controversial asset throughout Alibaba's history, prompting the company and its founder Ma to clash with key shareholders Yahoo and SoftBank.

August 2005: Yahoo becomes major shareholder founder Jack Ma (L) and Yahoo's chief operating officer at the time Daniel Rosensweig during a joint press conference to announce their deal in Beijing, August 11, 2005. Yahoo Inc signed a deal to buy 40 percent of for $ 1 billion in cash while handing over the operation of its China operations to the Chinese online store.

AFP | Getty Images

Yahoo poured $ 1 billion into Alibaba for a 40% stake in the company, making it the e-commerce company's largest shareholder.

As part of the agreement, Alibaba took control of Yahoo's China operations.

"Together, we will create one of the largest Internet companies in China, and our combined assets will make us the only company to have a leading position in all the key sectors driving explosive Internet growth in China, such as search, trade and communications., "Terry Semel, Yahoo's CEO at the time, said in a press release.

November 2007: Hong Kong IPO

Prior to Alibaba's debut in the United States in 2014, it completed an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong in 2007.

The public listing raised $ 13.1 billion in Hong Kong dollars in gross revenue. On opening day, Alibaba shares rose from the offer price of $ 13.50 Hong Kong dollars to as high as $ 39.50 Hong Kong dollars.

April 2008: Birth of Tmall

Alibaba launched a product called Taobao Mall which was spun off years later and became Tmall. Together with Taobao, Tmall is now one of Alibaba's most important e-commerce properties in terms of revenue.

Tmall has positioned itself as a place where foreign brands can set up an online store and sell to Chinese consumers.

fashion brands, electronics manufacturers and even Starbucks are on Tmall.

September 2009: Cloud business launched

Alibaba launched its cloud business in 2009, and it is now one of the largest in China.

Cloud computing is the second-largest revenue source for the company and its fastest growing businesses.

Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang told CNBC last year that the cloud will be the company's "main business" in the future.

"Cloud computing is our long-term strategy. We strongly believe that any business in the future will be run by cloud," he said.

November 2009: Singles Day extravaganza

Singles Day – also known as the Double 11 Festival – is China's largest shopping event of the year. It was pioneered by the current CEO of Zhang. Alibaba.

Dealers were offering huge discounts that day, turning it into a multibillion-dollar festival.

Alibaba saw a gross sales value – the value of merchandise sold through the platforms – hit $ 7.8 million in the 2009 edition of Singles Day. That figure was $ 30.8 billion for the 2018 event, at the exchange rate at that time.

"I never expected that we could actually turn this day into a commercial day … for the entire community," Zhang told CNBC in an interview last year.

May 2011: Alipay controversy

Alibaba sold control of Alipay to a group controlled by Jack Ma. At that time, the company said it was due to new rules issued by the country's central bank – People's Bank of China. The rules for third party online payment required them to get specific licenses.

However, Yahoo, Alibaba's largest shareholder at the time, said that the sale of Alipay happened without its knowledge, a statement the Chinese e-commerce giant denied. [19659002] The episode raised concerns about Alibaba's governance structure.

Yahoo, SoftBank and Alibaba finally reached an agreement the same year: Alibaba would be paid at least $ 2 billion, but no more than $ 6 billion if Alipay went public; Alipay was also required to pay the license fee and continue to operate Taobao.

June 2012: Hong Kong delisted

Just five years after its debut on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Alibaba took the company private through a delisting. [19659002] The company paid $ 2.45 billion to buy the 27% of which was from the public. This was equivalent to $ 13.50 Hong Kong dollars per share, the same offer price for the IPO back in 2007.

"Taking privately will allow our company to make long-term decisions that are of benefit to our customers and which are also free of the pressure that comes from having a listed company, "Ma said in comments at the time.

September 2012: Alibaba's Yahoo repurchase

Alibaba repurchased half of Yahoo's 40% stake for $ 7.6 billion. Yahoo received roughly $ 6.3 billion in cash and $ 800 million in preference shares in Alibaba.

This was a huge return for Yahoo following the first $ 1 billion investment in 2005.

September 2014: New York IPO

Chinese online store giant Alibaba CEO Jack Ma (C) waves as he arrives at New York Stock Exchange in New York September 19, 2014.

Jewel Samad | AFP | Getty Images

Alibaba went public on the New York Stock Exchange in what was the largest stock exchange listing in history.

The e-commerce giant raised around $ 25 billion in its New York Stock Exchange listing. It is now one of Asia's largest after-valuation technology companies.

Alibaba's share is up more than 150% from the $ 68 per share listing price.

October 2014: Ant Financial was created

Following the controversial spin-off of Alipay, Ant Financial was created to include not only the payment system but other financial services.

The creation of this affiliate signaled Alibaba's intentions to push financial technology or fintech.

Ant Financial, now China's largest fintech company is reportedly valued at around $ 150 billion.

August 2015: $ 4.6 billion Suning deal

Alibaba invested 28.3 billion yuan, which was around $ 4.56 billion, in Chinese brick and mortar electronics retailer Suning. This followed an investment the previous year in the Intime department store chain.

It signaled Alibaba's intention to continue with the so-called "new retail" strategy in which it appears to merge its online business with offline stores. The goal is to bring payments, e-commerce, food delivery and other parts of the business into one large ecosystem.

It is a strategy that the company continues to pursue today.

April 2016: International push [19659018] Since it was founded 20 years ago, Alibaba's focus has been very much on the domestic market: helping foreign and local brands sell to Chinese consumers.

However, in April 2016, the company acquired a controlling stake in Singapore-based Lazada, an e-commerce company serving several markets in Southeast Asia.

It marked Alibaba's first major international press in the field of e-commerce.

February 2018: Alibaba acquires Ant share

Alibaba acquired a 33% stake in Ant Financial. It was able to do so because of a clause in a contract between the two companies from 2014 when Ant was created.

There have been reports that Ant Financial has been prepared for a stock exchange listing, although the company has not made any official announcements.

September 2019: Jack Ma resigns as chairman

In September 2018, Alibaba said that Jack Ma will resign as chairman a year later – September 10, 2019.

Current CEO Zhang takes Ma & # 39; seat as chairman.

Ma intends to sit on the board of Alibaba until the annual general meeting in 2020.

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