Alibaba Group Holding Limited is a Chinese e-commerce, retail and technology conglomerate that provides consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer and business-to-business sales services via web portals, as well as electronic payment services, shopping search engines and data-centric cloud computing services.
It also owns and operates a diverse array of businesses around the world in numerous sectors.
The group began in 1999 when Jack Ma founded the website Alibaba.com, a business-to-business portal to connect Chinese manufacturers with overseas buyers. In 2012, two of Alibaba's portals handled 1.1 trillion yuan ($170 billion) in sales.
Suppliers from other countries are supported (with more stringent checks than for Chinese companies), but the company primarily operates in the People's Republic of China (PRC). At closing time on the date of its initial public offering (IPO), 19 September 2014, Alibaba's market value was US$231 billion.
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