The sprint towards a $500 billion valuation is no longer unforeseeable for two giant retailers, Alibaba and Amazon.
Alibaba’s strategy is focused on building investments into companies in diverse fields such as social media and virtual reality while Amazon has largely restricted itself to expansion within e-commerce.
Alibaba has positioned itself as the enabler of business transactions, whether they are business-to-business, consumer-to-consumer or business-to-consumer transactions. Amazon on the other hand has distinguished itself as a marketplace for consumers to buy from enterprise.
To be fair, Alibaba is primarily an e-commerce platform yet its composition is multifaceted and includes entities such as Alibaba.com, TMall, Tabao – China’s biggest consumer-to-consumer platform, AliPay – a wallet that enables users to pay through its own platform – and AntFinancial, a product that helps businesses access financing.
Alibaba, which was founded in 1999, has amassed more than 500 million mobile app users every month with operations spreading across 200 countries.
The company has set records with the biggest initial public offering of US$231 billion set on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2014, and in May this year became the first Asian company to exceed the US$400 billion valuation mark.
Alibaba’s diversification has seen it venture into bike-sharing with Ofo, electronic payments with India’s Paytm, virtual reality with Israel’s startup Lumus, wearables with U.S. firm Magic Leap and of course e-commerce with Singapore based Lazada Group.