For the fiscal year ending 30 March 2016, Alibaba’s China retail marketplace platforms sold goods worth more than 3 trillion yuan, about US$476-billion. This is according to Alibaba’s Group Executive Vice Chairman, Joe Tsai. Writing on Alizila, the company’s blog, Tsai claimed that the company has seen a growth of about 23% in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) from the previous year, 2015.
The growth, according to Tsai, is not only reflective of an impressive year by Alibaba but a shift in China’s economy trend. Tsai proposes that Alibaba is seeing the emergence of a new economy, one driven by consumption and job creation in the service sector.
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“At the heart of this new economy is Alibaba…So we celebrate today’s milestone for what it says about the potential of this new economy, and the achievements that lie ahead” Tsai wrote.
Tsai says that the new economy is driven by the internet. According to a Reuters report, China had 649-million internet users by the end of 2014, with 557-million of those using portable devices to go online. The biggest contributor to Alibaba’s growth has been mobile, a testament to the growing number of people connecting to the internet via mobile phones. The mobile penetration, according to Tsai, has resulted in businesses on its platform to “thrive on reaching new markets and customers through the Internet, and hundreds of millions of consumers using technology, especially mobile Internet, to improve their quality of life”
Though Alibaba appears to have all but conquered China, the company thinks that growth is not only a numbers game but one that has an impact on the people of China.
“We have a responsibility for how economic growth is achieved. Growth is meaningless unless it is sustainable. Thus, we have turned our focus to quality growth and broadening domestic consumption” Tsai said in the blog post.
One of Alibaba’s sustainable efforts has seen growth already. Alibaba’s Rural Taobao’s initiative in which it seeks to bring the producers and brands on its platform to people living in the villages, penetrating over 12 000 of China’s 600 000 villages, ensuring that the gap between urban and rural areas is narrowed down.