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Surviving Chairman Ma: Life in the shadow of China’s Alibaba

27
Nov
2013

By Adam Jourdan SHANGHAI (Reuters) – In a small research lab in Palo Alto, California, flanked by Hewlett-Packard Co and Stanford University, Chinas largest electronics retailer is learning how to compete online. Shenzhen-based Suning Commerce Group Co Ltd is looking to tap Silicon Valley nous to help it with a formidable challenge: succeeding in Chinas booming e-commerce market in the face of the behemoth that is Alibaba. If youre going to enter the online market and are thinking about competing with our Tmall and Taobao, thats already a mistake, Alibabas Chairman Jack Ma recently said at the firms Hangzhou headquarters. Instead you should be trying to fill in the gaps that Alibaba hasnt done so well. Set up by charismatic entrepreneur Ma, Alibaba accounts for half of online retail sales through its Tmall online market while its eBay-like Taobao also controls around 80 percent of consumer-to-consumer online sales, according to data from consultancy Euromonitor.

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