Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2009 (Revised July 2009)

Alibaba's Taobao (A)

by Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Julie M. Wulf

Abstract

Examines the decision of Alibaba Group to diversify from an international business-to-business (B2B) exchange (Alibaba.com) into a B2C and C2C exchange (Taobao.com) for Chinese retailers and consumers. In China, Taobao had managed to displace the once dominant eBay, the world's largest consumer marketplace. However, the company had little revenue because it offered services free of charge.

Keywords: Business Model; Demand and Consumers; Market Transactions; Service Operations; Diversification; Web; China;

Citation:

Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, and Julie M. Wulf. "Alibaba's Taobao (A)." Harvard Business School Case 709-456, January 2009. (Revised July 2009.)