Brief Biography of JACK MA

Alibaba is behind AliExpress and Jack Ma is behind Alibaba. Jack Ma was born in Hangzhou, China, in 1964; He touched a computer for the first time in 1995 and is now the 33rd richest man in the world on the Forbes list.

Jack Ma came to the USA as an interpreter for a Chinese business trip. He was actually a university professor, but got a bonus from his own translation agency. Jack Ma says he entered “chinese beer” in the search engine and it returned no results. With the help of a friend, they created a precarious website for their agency and had received five emails within eight hours of it being published. It was then that Jack Ma recognized the potential of the internet.

The Birth of Alibaba

In 1999, Ma quit his job and returned to Hangzhou, his homeland with 17 friends, to set up Alibaba.

In 2006, Ma revealed how she came up with the name Alibaba. He was in a San Francisco cafe and asked a waitress, “Do you know who Alibaba is?” She replied, “Sure: open sesame seeds.” So Ma went out on the street and asked people if they knew Alibaba, and everyone said yes, “Indians, Germans, Chinese … they all knew who Alibaba is.”

Alibaba was a kind and intelligent person who helped people be easy to pronounce and opened doors.” It was the perfect name for their business-to-business sales platform that was supposed to open the doors to Chinese exports and which today has more than 80 million users.


Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou | CC-BY-SA 4.0

How does AliExpress look in all of this?

Alibaba is not just a website, but the entire group of companies run by Ma, which includes a very different set of services: Taobao, an eBay-style platform for sales between consumers; eTao, a product price comparator; or Alipay, the Chinese equivalent of PayPal.

And within these services is our beloved AliExpress. AliExpress was born in 2010 and was geared towards being a retail-focused platform. The sellers are mainly small and medium-sized Chinese companies, the majority of the buyers are consumers from abroad, including Russia, Israel, Italy, many South American countries and of course Spain.

In fact, AliExpress has penetrated Spain with much greater force than any other country: according to Google search statistics, almost 15% of the inquiries made about AliExpress worldwide come from Spain. And an even more revealing fact: in Spain, for every search related to Alibaba that is carried out on Google Spain, 200 are carried out on its “son” AliExpress.

This is no coincidence, however: AliExpress has a clear vocation for international expansion and apparently even recruits professionals from each country to see firsthand the markets they want to address. Among these “imported” professionals is a man from Bilbao, Pedro Zúñiga.

Present and Future

For now, everyone was talking about Alibaba in September last year when it debuted on the stock market and broke all records. On Wednesday, May 6, 2015, Alibaba broke records again: It exceeded its own sales mark and increased its sales by 45% compared to the previous year. AliExpress generates less than 10% of this business volume.

But of course the AliExpress trend is on the rise, especially in Spain, where fewer and fewer people don’t know this store.