We enable businesses to transform the way they market, sell and operate and improve their efficiencies. We provide the technology infrastructure and marketing reach to help merchants, brands, retailers and other businesses to leverage the power of new technology to engage with their users and customers and operate in a more efficient way. Our businesses are comprised of China commerce, international commerce, local consumer services, Cainiao, cloud, digital media and entertainment, and innovation initiatives and others. In addition, Ant Group, an unconsolidated related party, provides digital payment services and offers digital financial services to consumers and merchants and other businesses on our platforms.
An ecosystem has developed around our platforms and businesses that consists of consumers, merchants, brands, retailers, third-party service providers, strategic alliance partners and other businesses. GMV transacted in the Alibaba Ecosystem was RMB8,119 billion for fiscal year 2021, which mainly included GMV transacted through our China retail marketplaces, as well as GMV transacted through our international retail marketplaces and local consumer services.
Annual active consumers of the Alibaba Ecosystem across the world reached approximately 1.28 billion for the 12 months ended December 31, 2021.
This includes 979 million consumers in China and 301 million consumers overseas.
Alibaba has used major acquisitions as vehicles to broaden its footprint. We look at six of the most important acquisitions in more detail below.
Alibaba Group’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere.
- Type of Business: Multi-Screen Entertainment and Media Company
- Acquisition Price: $1.1 billion for a 16.5% stake; $4.4 billion for the remaining stake.
- Acquisition Date: May 2014 (16.5% stake); April 2016 (remaining stake).
Youku Todou Inc., a Chinese multi-screen entertainment and media company, was founded in 2003. In 2014, Alibaba purchased $1.1 billion of Class A ordinary shares of Youku, which represented a 16.5% equity interest. At the same time, Yunfeng Fund invested $132 million for an approximately 2% equity interest. In April 2016, Alibaba completed the acquisition of Youku by purchasing all remaining issued and outstanding shares for $4.4 billion. Yunfeng Fund held on to its minority interest.
Youku enables users to search, view, and share high-quality video content quickly and easily across multiple devices. This helps Alibaba to generate additional revenue sources through advertising and membership subscriptions. The acquisition appears to be an attempt to displace Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) as the go-to source for streaming TV and film content in China.
Alibaba Pictures Group (formerly ChinaVision Media)
- Type of Business: Film Company
- Acquisition Price: $804 million (controlling stake)
- Acquisition Date: June 2014
Alibaba first acquired a controlling interest in Alibaba Pictures Group, formerly known as ChinaVision Media, in June 2014. A financing transaction the following year led to a dilution of Alibaba's stake from a controlling to a minority interest. In March 2019, the company purchased newly issued shares of Alibaba Pictures that increased its equity interest to about 51%. Alibaba Pictures became, once again, a consolidated subsidiary of Alibaba.
Alibaba Pictures is an Internet-driven integrated platform involved in a broad range of entertainment-related activities, including content production, promotion and distribution, IP licensing and integrated management, cinema ticketing, and data services. The acquisition demonstrates Alibaba's push into both the distribution and production of high-quality entertainment.
South China Morning Post (SCMP)
- Type of Business: English-Language Newspaper
- Acquisition Price: $266 million
- Acquisition Date: April 2016
The South China Morning Post is an English-language newspaper headquartered in Hong Kong and was founded in 1903. In April 2016, Alibaba acquired the media business of SCMP Group Ltd. The acquisition included the newspaper, the group's magazine, recruitment, outdoor media, events and conferences, education, and digital media businesses.
- Type of Business: E-Commerce Platform
- Acquisition Price: $1.0 billion (54% stake)
- Acquisition Date: April 12, 2016
Lazada Group, an e-commerce platform headquartered in Singapore, was founded in 2012. In April 2016, Alibaba purchased a 54% equity interest in Lazada worth $1 billion. The subsidiary offers merchants and brands a one-stop marketplace with access to consumers in six Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) with an estimated user base of 200 million. The deal will bolster Alibaba's e-commerce presence outside of China.
Intime Department Store
- Type of Business: Department Store Operator
- Acquisition Price: $692 million (initial investment); $2.6 billion (74% controlling stake)
- Acquisition Date: July 2014 (initial investment); Jan. 10, 2017 (74% controlling stake).
Intime Department Store, one of China's leading department store chains, was founded in 2005. In 2014, Alibaba invested $692 million in Intime and steadily increased its stake in the company over the next several years. In 2016, Alibaba converted its holdings of convertible debt securities issued by Intime into equity, bringing its stake to 28%. Then, in 2017, Alibaba paid $2.6 billion for a controlling interest. Alibaba increased its stake in Intime to 99% in October 2018. Despite starting out as an e-commerce company, Alibaba's acquisition of Intime shows it also sees select brick-and-mortar retail businesses as growth opportunities.
Sun Art Retail Group Ltd.
- Type of Business: Hypermarket Operator
- Acquisition Price: $2.9 billion (initial 36.2% stake); $3.6 billion (raises stake to 72%)
- Acquisition Date: Nov. 20, 2017 (initial 36.2% stake); Oct. 19, 2020 (raises stake to 72%)
Sun Art Retail was established in 2000 through a joint venture between Groupe Auchan and Ruentex, whose vision was to develop the market leader in China's hypermarket sector. By 2011, Sun Art Retail had become one of the largest hypermarket operators in China. The giant offline retailer went public in Hong Kong equity markets in the same year. It established an e-commerce platform two years later. In 2017, Alibaba announced a strategic alliance with Auchan Retail S.A. and Ruentex Group, obtaining an aggregate direct and indirect stake of approximately 36.2% in Sun Art Retail. In October 2020, Alibaba invested an additional $3.6 billion in the retailer to obtain an approximately 72% controlling interest. The investment bolsters Alibaba's e-commerce offerings and helps to diversify its offline retail channels, similar to Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods in 2017.
Alibaba Diversity and Inclusiveness Transparency
As part of our effort to improve the awareness of the importance of diversity in companies, we have highlighted the transparency of Alibaba’s commitment to diversity, inclusiveness, and social responsibility. The below chart illustrates how Alibaba reports the diversity of its management and workforce. This shows whether Alibaba discloses data about the diversity of its board of directors, C-suite, general management, and employees overall, across a variety of metrics. We have indicated that transparency with a ✔.
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