Mei opens a store for free using her Taobao Mobile App with the aid of Xiaopu, an online merchant tool. She quickly customizes her storefront and displays her merchandise.


Taobao is China’s largest online shopping destination with the most extensive collection of products and services, ranging from everyday items to hard-to-find specialty products. It’s an easy way for sellers to establish a low-cost distribution channel, as well as one of Alibaba’s most popular starting points for buyers to explore, discover and use our marketplaces and services. There were over 10 million active sellers on Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces.*

*In the 12 months ended March 31, 2015.


Xiaopu is a feature in the Taobao Mobile App that enables merchants to manage their stores, upload product listings and connect with consumers using a mobile device.

Watch a video about Xiaopu

She shares her shop’s QR code on social media channels like Weibo.


Weibo is a leading social media platform in which Alibaba has an equity investment. Merchants use Weibo to market new products and send out special promotions. Weibo has 198 million monthly active users.*

*As of March 2015. Source: Weibo public announcement.

Soon Mei gets her first customer. The potential buyer asks Mei questions about the product and negotiates the price using Aliwangwang, Alibaba’s instant messaging tool.

The customer buys several accessories and pays with Alipay, knowing her money will be held in escrow until she’s confirmed she’s satisfied with her order.


Chinese culture places a high value on guanxi, or personal connections. Aliwangwang is an instant messenger service that allows buyers and sellers to communicate in real time. Customers use it to ask questions and negotiate prices.


Alipay is the world’s leading third-party payment platform and the principal means by which buyers and sellers settle transactions on our China retail marketplaces. Alipay has over 400 million annual active users (80% of which are mobile users) and more than 200 financial institution partners. In addition, Alipay handles over 120 million transactions daily. 75% of GMV on Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces was settled through Alipay’s escrow and payment processing services.*

*In the 12 months ended March 31, 2015.

Mei uses Cainiao Logistics to choose a shipping company by comparing performance statistics, and selects one that delivers to her customer’s rural home.

The customer is thrilled with her order. She confirms receipt and Mei receives payment.


Cainiao Logistics operates a proprietary logistics information platform that links a network of logistics service providers. Alibaba’s network of providers managed the delivery of over 8.6 billion packages from our China retail marketplaces to consumers*.

*In the twelve months ended March 31, 2015.

Mei wants to improve her visibility with potential consumers. She uses Alimama to launch a marketing campaign and bids on keywords through the Pay for Performance (P4P) service and other marketing solutions.

Now, when shoppers are looking for the type of items Mei sells, her products are featured more prominently in search results. Alimama also provides tools that let her track how effective this marketing is so she can better target her ad buys.


Alimama is Alibaba’s online marketing technology platform, which generates much of Alibaba Group’s revenue. Alimama offers services such as P4P marketing, which allows sellers to bid for keywords matching product or service listings appearing in search results; display marketing; and access to Taobao Affiliate Network, which we believe is one of the largest online marketing affiliate networks in China.

Thanks to Alimama, Mei’s sales skyrocket. She needs to increase production, hire several employees and purchase supplies.

Mei applies for a small-business loan through Ant Financial. Because of her positive seller history on Taobao Marketplace, she has a strong credit record with pre-approved credit limits. Her loan request is quickly approved and the money is instantly transferred to her Alipay account.

Ant Financial

Ant Financial has provided small loans to over 1.6 million small and micro enterprises and entrepreneurs since 2011. The application takes less than three minutes, and once approved, applicants receive funds in less than a second.

Mei visits Alibaba’s China wholesale marketplace to buy equipment and supplies, then hires a third-party marketing expert from Alibaba’s network of partners to professionalize her storefront, take photos of her merchandise and even provide models—making her products look more appealing. is Alibaba’s China wholesale marketplace, where merchants doing business on Taobao Marketplace, Tmall and AliExpress can go to source products. As of March 31, 2015, more than 830,000 paying members rely on for their wholesaling needs.

Alibaba Network

Alibaba’s network of third-party service providers assist entrepreneurs with online storefront design, storefront operations management, customer relationship management, data analysis, logistics and more.

With so many visitors, Mei needs cloud computing power. She turns to Alibaba Cloud Computing to buy scalable, affordable storage capacity.

Alibaba Cloud Computing

Alibaba Cloud Computing provides sophisticated networking solutions and Big Data analytics to small companies, while driving adoption of cloud services among large enterprises and organizations. It is also China's largest provider of public cloud services*.

*According to market share in 2014, IDC China Public Cloud Services Tracker.