What does it do?
E-commerce remains the company’s bread and butter, conducted mainly via its largely consumer-to-consumer Taobao site and the more business-to-consumer Tmall, and typically paid for via its digital-payments unit Alipay, which has become a pioneer in that sector.
Through Alibaba’s platforms, Chinese consumers can buy a wide array of products from clothing to electronics, food, luxury products and even more unusual goods — including Boeing 747 cargo planes.
But Alibaba’s success has seen it invest heavily in new business lines as well.
It owns leading Chinese video streaming website Youku, and its Alibaba Pictures unit in 2016 bought a stake in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, which owns DreamWorks Pictures, among other entertainment ventures.
It also is investing in cloud computing and other aspects of China’s growing digital ecosystem including the acquisition of Chinese food-delivery leader Ele.me.