On 4 April 1999, Jack Ma and his team of 17 friends and students founded Alibaba.com, a China-based B2B marketplace site which has grown to be one of the largest in the world.

In 2003, Alibaba launched Taobao Marketplace offering a variety of products for retail sale. Taobao grew to become China’s largest C2C online shopping platform and later became the second most visited web site in China. In April 2008, Taobao introduced a spin-off, Taobao Mall now known as Tmall.com, an online retail platform to complement the Taobao C2C portal, offering global brands to an increasingly affluent Chinese consumer base.

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