Sketch of Ma via: All Things D. Image credit: James Griffiths.
The official Hong Kong site is customized for a Hong Kong audience in many ways. It features products that Hong Kong users are most likely to buy and also offers a guide to educate users on payments. The design of the site is also much cleaner and neater compared to the China version of Taobao.
Elsewhere, Taobao is also enjoying growth in Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore. By the end of 2012, there were 600,000 users in Taiwan, 210,000 in Malaysia, and 280,000 in Singapore. Daphne Lee, director of international business at Taobao, also shared that Malaysia is seeing explosive growth at the moment. In Malaysia, Taobao is experiencing 78 percent growth in monthly paying unique visitors and also 97 percent growth in daily pageviews.
Taobao’s parent group, Alibaba is undergoing changes as well. Charismatic founder Jack Ma – ‘the crocodile on the Yangzte‘ – steps down as CEO on Friday, to be replaced by Jonathan Lu. Ma’s resignation came as a shock to many as he is only 48 years old.
According to Forbes, Alibaba, which is believed to be preparing an IPO, is bigger than Facebook:
In Q4, Facebook reported $1.54 billion in revenue and $64 million in net income.
In Q4 (reported today, as Alibaba’s financials are reported on a 1 quarter lag in Yahoo’s filings), Alibaba did $1.84 billion in revenue and $650 million in net income.
It would be odd, then, if Alibaba priced itself at $62.5 billion, given that Facebook’s market cap is currently $66 billion. Which do you think has a more sustainable long-term business model: Facebook selling ads or Alibaba transacting with 1.3 billion Chinese?
The Chinese company is actually far more similar to Google than Facebook, with genuine revenue streams and a predilection for scooping up profitable smaller companies.