Jack Ma and the story behind Alibaba's e-commerce success

Sales via the online platform Alibaba already account for one-sixth of China's retail volume. They are doing everything right, says founder Jack Ma’s biographer Duncan Clark. In a video and at the GDI Retail Summit Duncan Clark presented the trends shaping e-commerce in China.

Duncan Clark Photo

With an annual turnover of USD 1.5 trillion, China is the largest e-commerce market in the world. Alibaba is a huge part of it – from 2019 to 2020 for example, Alibaba accounted for one-sixth of China's retail volume.

The reasons for Alibaba's success are include China's sheer number of inhabitants and the online community's growing need for better products, says Duncan Clark, author of the book "Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built". The third reason was that offline retail was never really efficient in China. "That’s why the impact of e-commerce and m-commerce have been so disruptive becasue for the first time people can actually order comfortably and return things," says Clark.

An "iron triangle", on which Alibaba's success is built, applies to all e-commerce providers. Alibaba only implements the three pillars of logistics, finance and e-commerce particularly well, Clark says. The stress test for this system takes place annually on 11.11, on the so-called "Single's Day". In 2019, 1.3 billion deliveries were generated on that one day.

Duncan Clark tells us here in a video what Jack Ma thinks about cooperation with the government and what he wants to achieve with his "Health and Happiness" strategy: