Alibaba’s moves to extend its offline reach.
It’s fascinating to observe the East and West ‘twins’ of big tech. The Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple have Eastern (Chinese) counterparts in Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Huawei and Xiaomi.
Amongst the parallels, it’s interesting to keep an eye on the different ways in which Amazon—most notably through its purchase of Whole Foods—and Alibaba expand offline. Jack Ma’s Alibaba follows a ‘new retail’ strategy of being a platform for O2O, or online-to-offline, where existing shops can gain a foothold online and broaden their services and inventory through the use of Alibaba’s various platforms. Most recently, the company backed India’s Paytm Mall, a company following a similar playbook and hoping to snowball to selling goods worth $10 billion this year.