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How do Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall make money?

China’s economy has ushered in a new era with the emergence of e-commerce that has dramatically changed the landscape of the Chinese market, with the digital economy contributing to more than a third of the country’s GDP in 2019 ($14.28 trillion). China’s e-commerce sales have surpassed the combined total of Europe and the United States, with the world’s largest population of digital buyers amounting to over 710 million, as according to Statista.

Enabling the fast growth of this industry are China’s two biggest e-commerce platforms: Taobao and Tmall – both being products of the tech giant Alibaba. While Taobao shares a total of 15% of the global e-commerce market, its sister platform Tmall owns 14%, meaning in total Alibaba owns 29% of this market.

Alibaba’s two largest domestic rivals, and Pinduoduo, holds 9% and 4% respectively, following the international peer Amazon (13%). With these numbers, we can see clearly just how much Alibaba dominates the e-commerce landscape, not just in China, but globally.

Taobao shares a total of 15% of the global e-commerce market, while its sister platform Tmall owns 14%.

While Taobao is reportedly home to more than 300 million daily active users as of 2019, Tmall is no stranger to media headlines for record-breaking GMV (gross merchandise volume), especially during China’s annual shopping extravaganza Double 11. The momentum seen at Taobao and Tmall has drawn curious eyes to look inside the businesses and how they are able to achieve such levels of revenue.


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