Alibaba is one of the three largest retailers in the world, regularly juggling for the top spot with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Amazon (AMZN), depending on the source and the criteria.

But Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) is a multinational conglomerate that long ago began moving beyond retail to operate around the world with businesses across many verticals.

Key Takeaways

  • Alibaba.com is the company's business-to-business platform.
  • AliExpress.com is its wholesale site.
  • Taobao.com is its consumer marketplace.

With operations in more than 200 countries, the Chinese company's flagship company continues to be Alibaba.com, the business-to-business trading platform. There are three main segments: an English-language portal, Alibaba.com, that connects sales between importers and exporters; a Chinese portal, 1688.com, that serves as a platform for China’s in-country business trade, and a retail website, AliExpress.com, that connects buyers to small quantities of product at wholesale prices.

But that's not all. Below are some of the other companies owned by Alibaba Group.

Lazada

Singapore-based Lazada Group SA focuses on e-commerce in six Southeast Asian countries: Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Lazada is Alibaba Group's biggest acquisition to date. Alibaba announced in March 2018 that it would invest another $2 billion in Lazada, adding to an 83% stake in the company. Alibaba took control of Lazada in April 2016 in a $1 billion deal with its founder, Rocket Internet, followed by another $1 billion in June 2017.

200

The number of countries that Alibaba operates in.

South China Morning Post

The South China Morning Post is a century-old English-language newspaper based in Hong Kong.

Alibaba bought it in December 2015 for about $266 million as part of its plan to expand its media and entertainment business. At the time, Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba, said the company wanted to reshape the coverage of China in Western media. 

AutoNavi

AutoNavi is a Chinese map and navigation company.

Alibaba Group acquired AutoNavi in 2014. The company has been providing mapping data to Google for more than a decade and also provides data to Apple Inc. (AAPL). The company's own app has garnered more than 100 million users, making it one of China's top apps.

Taobao

Taobao is a consumer-to-consumer marketplace in China, similar to eBay Inc. (EBAY).

Alibaba Group founded Taobao in 2003. At the time of its launch, eBay had acquired China’s leading online auction site, Eachnet. To compete, Taobao offered free seller listings and features like messaging for buyers. It became the leading auction site in the country within two years. 

Alipay

Alipay is the world’s biggest online payment app with more than 400 million users.

The Alibaba Group founded Alipay in 2004. Now under parent company Ant Financial Services Group, an Alibaba Group affiliate, Alipay surpassed PayPal as the most extensive digital payment platform network in 2014. In August of 2017, Alipay announced a partnership with Yelp, signaling its intention to expand westward. 

Alipay already connects with 65 financial institutions such as MasterCard and Visa. It also provides payment services for Alibaba's online businesses like Taobao.

Alibaba Pictures Groups

Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd. was named ChinaVision Media until Alibaba Group bought a 60% stake in the company for $804 million in 2014. It has been China's largest movie company since 2015.

Although a dominant player in Chinese film production, Alibaba Pictures Group is not currently a money-maker for Alibaba. It reported after-tax losses amounting to $259 million for the 15-month period that ended in March 2019, a significant reduction in its losses in earlier periods.

Aliwangwang and Laiwang

Aliwangwant and Laiwang are two instant messaging services designed for different users.

Alibaba Group launched Aliwangwang, its own instant messaging service, in 2004 to enable real-time interactions between Taobao’s online sellers and customers. It has grown into the second-largest instant messenger in China.

Meanwhile, Alibaba Group in 2013 chose Laiwang, its messaging service app, over rival Tencent’s app, WeChat. Laiwang is now owned by the Alibaba Group.

Ali Health Information Technology

Ali Health Information Technology is a healthcare company that aims to improve access to primary healthcare and medicine in China.

China has universal healthcare coverage but access to medical services is a huge challenge in rural areas of the country. Ali Health offers supplementary services, some free and some for a fee.

Ali Health was launched in 2014 after Alibaba and private equity firm Yunfeng purchased a 54% stake in a company called Citic 21CN.