Jack Ma‘s rags to riches story is inspiring for any young entrepreneur facing adversity and struggling to get a business idea off the ground. His resilience and work ethic are deeply embedded in Alibaba’s culture, a company he founded with a group of friends.
The Alibaba mission statement ‘to make it easy doing business anywhere’ is a testament to Jack’s goals and dedication to making commerce accessible to everyone.
The statement also implies that Alibaba’s products give users the tools they need to conduct their businesses regardless of where they are. There’s much more we can deduce from these words, so let’s dive in and see what Alibaba is really about.
|Name||Alibaba Group Holding Limited|
|Founded||April 4, 1999,|
|Industry||Retail, e-commerce, internet communications…|
|Market cap||$250.911 billion (as of August 2022)|
Alibaba Mission Statement – In-Depth Analysis
When taken out of context, the tagline of Alibaba’s mission statement sounds ill-defined as it doesn’t indicate how the company achieves the promise it offers. Its meaning becomes much clearer when it is interpreted along with the following words:
‘We enable businesses to transform the way they market, sell and operate and improve their efficiencies.’
These words reveal the company’s intent:
- To build a global e-commerce marketplace
- Enable businesses to promote and distribute their services
- Give everyone equal chances of success by allowing them to use the latest technologies to their advantage.
Most importantly, Alibaba’s mission statement references the company’s diverse product portfolio and suggests that each product has a role in driving the business world forward. Let’s take a closer look at each of these aspects and what they communicate to Alibaba’s clients.
Building a Global Marketplace
Aside from being one of China’s largest public companies, Alibaba Group is also among the key global players in the international e-commerce market. However, its business endeavors extend into entertainment, health, fintech, online payment and data management, and cloud computing industries.
The following segment of the company’s mission statement refers to these platforms:
‘We provide the technology infrastructure and marketing reach to help merchants, brands, retailers, and other businesses to leverage the power of new technology to engage with their users and customers and operate in a more efficient way.’
This paragraph clearly defines its target audience as a mixture of retailers, merchants, and brands. By failing to indicate the business size, the statement signals that Alibaba’s services are equally suitable for large and well-established or small businesses.
The statement also mentions Alibaba’s cloud computing, digital media, and entertainment business ventures and suggests they have millions of active users.
Accessibility of Goods and Services
The importance of the Internet for Alibaba Group is made evident by the mission statement tagline. The company’s pledge to make it easy to conduct business anywhere reveals the online nature of its services.
Consequently, these products enable retailers, brands, or merchants to reach a global audience. The mission statement also implies that Alibaba provides online shoppers access to a broad range of goods and services.
The statistics support the claim that Alibaba’s online shopping properties make goods and services more accessible because their combined number of users has nearly doubled since 2017.
The company’s fintech and online payment services are also on the rise as the worth of Alipay’s annual transaction exceed $17 trillion.
The mission statement doesn’t contain references to user data protection which is particularly concerning in light of the 2020 incident that involved data stolen from one of Alibaba’s servers.
Moreover, the company doesn’t guarantee the quality of the products users can obtain through the Alibaba ecosystem.
Inclusion Through Technology
One of the key messages of the company’s mission statement is that its technology is available to anyone. As a result, the company offers equal opportunities to all its clients, whether they want to integrate Alibaba’s dropshipping services into their websites or run an e-store on AliExpress.
Unlike UPS and similar companies that charge delivery and shipping fees, AliExpress lets users distribute their products for free. In doing so, the platform promotes inclusion and equal opportunities for all its members.
Despite the company’s claims that its goal is to ‘empower enterprises with our leading cloud infrastructure’ Aliyun and other platforms Alibaba Group controls offer pricey cloud migration or data analysis solutions.
The company’s mission statement indicates that the technology Alibaba develops promotes inclusion as it helps entrepreneurs and small businesses grow in the Chinese and global markets.
Alibaba Vision Statement
Despite having over a billion active users across different platforms, the first opening line of Alibaba’s vision statement reads: ‘We do not pursue power or size.’ The statement focuses on longevity and stresses the company’s ambition to ‘build the future of e-commerce.’
However, I find parts of the statement conflicting since the goal to reach more than 2 billion users by 2036 is contradictory to the claim that Alibaba doesn’t pursue size.
Also, the claim that the company doesn’t seek power is highly debatable because Alibaba acquired six companies since 2014, including China VisionMedia (currently Alibaba Pictures Group), South China Morning Post, and Youku Tudou Inc.
Each of these acquisitions allowed the company to establish itself in a new industry and become more powerful. Here are some of the core ideas expressed in Alibaba’s vision statement.
Standing the Test of Time
The company’s vision statement starts with a powerful message about the company’s goals for the future. The following words, ‘we aspire to be a good company that will last for 102 years’, reveal that sustainability is far more critical to the company than its current market share or number of clients.
Alibaba was established in 1999, and lasting for 102 years would mean that its existence spans three centuries. Hence, the company’s business model, alongside its internal and external systems, is designed to ensure sustainability in shifting market conditions.
Moving Towards Green Technology
April 2022 marked an important milestone in Alibaba’s history as the company joined the Low Carbon Patent Pledge platform. At the same time, the company made nine of its green data technology patents available to the public.
This is in line with the company’s ethos because it has already made significant contributions in attempts to eradicate poverty in rural China and ensure the economic growth of the country’s underdeveloped regions.
Moreover, Alibaba released its first carbon neutrality action report in 2021 that outlined the company’s strategy for the reduction of carbon emissions.
The Platform for Social and Commercial Interactions
The vision statement reveals Alibaba’s goal to become a platform where individuals and businesses can establish lasting connections. It also indicates that the Alibaba ecosystem fosters social interactions.
This part of the statement refers to the company’s social networking app for students named Real Ruwo, launched in 2019. Alibaba launched the app after a series of failed attempts to establish itself in the social networking market.
What’s more, each of the company’s wholesale and consumer marketplace platforms is equipped with features that facilitate establishing social connections.
Amid China’s regulatory crackdown on the tech industry, Alibaba is having one of its most challenging years in over a decade. Despite current turmoil, the company’s focus remains on increasing its market cap and continuing its growth.
Its goal is to exceed 10 trillion renminbi of annual revenue by 2024 and continue increasing its already sizable client base. Moreover, Alibaba Group plans to create 100 million jobs by 2036. Each of these goals seems to be in contrast with the company’s statement that it doesn’t pursue power or size.
Alibaba Core Values
The company’s culture is rooted in support for small businesses that seek to establish themselves in their respective industries. This culture is built on these values:
- Embrace change
Let’s go through Alibaba’s core values to see how they’re reflected in the company’s mission and vision statements.
Valuing the Customer
The company’s belief that employee or stakeholder satisfaction cannot be achieved without customer satisfaction is central to its culture. It is also the basis for all other company’s values.
All platforms within Alibaba’s ecosystem cherish simplicity. Hence, complex and dishonest relationships between team members or clients are incoherent with the company’s culture. The employees dedicate a lot of attention to establishing and maintaining trust with the company’s clients.
Having the ability to adjust to the world as it changes has enabled Alibaba to remain relevant for over two decades. Moreover, the company’s active approach to new and challenging conditions has allowed it to become the facilitator of societal change.
Strong Work Ethic
Achieving excellence without passion, integrity, and commitment is impossible. These values are vital components of the company’s work ethic that inspires all employees to give their best every day.
- Alibaba’s mission statement reveals the company’s goal to remain one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world
- The vision statement suggests Alibaba favors longevity over power or profit
- The company’s services and its dedication to the clients are the key ideas behind the mission statement tagline
- Some elements of Alibaba’s vision statement are inconsistent with its mid-term and long-term goals
Question: What are the biggest challenges Alibaba faces?
Answer: The company’s revenue in the third quarter of 2022 is the lowest since the company went public due to waning demand for the services it offers and regulatory battles with the Chinese government.
Question: How can Alibaba improve its services?
Answer: The main areas of improvement involve extending Tmall and Taobao platforms to agricultural goods or using the Alibaba Health platform to provide health services in remote rural areas.
Question: Does Alibaba have a weakness?
Answer: Yes, it does. Its size is one of the company’s most significant weaknesses because it prevents it from prohibiting sellers to use its platforms to distribute counterfeit products.
Question: Which marketing strategy is Alibaba using?
Answer: Competition pricing is the company’s primary marketing strategy as it aims to attract clients by providing the lowest price for specific products.
Question: Are frauds common at Alibaba?
Answer: Unfortunately, scams involving suppliers increasing the price after the order was placed or vanishing with the customer’s money are frequent.
Other businesses with similar values
Alibaba faces tough competition in Chinese and international markets as it struggles to keep up with companies like Amazon, eBay, or Walmart. Most e-commerce and shipping companies have similar missions and long-term goals as Alibaba.
- Amazon – Although it is under constant scrutiny for its business practices, Amazon remains the world’s largest e-commerce platform. The company’s mission is to deliver high-quality services to its clients.
- Meituan – With the $177.34 billion market cap, Meituan is still behind Alibaba by a wide margin. However, this online shopping company reached this level in just twelve years.
- Rakuten – One of Alibaba’s biggest competitors comes from neighboring Japan as two companies largely dominate Asia’s e-commerce market. However, Rakuten’s mission is more oriented toward social empowerment.
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