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Analysis before buying or selling Alibaba shares

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Before buying or selling Alibaba shares, it is important to consider a number of factors to make an informed decision. Alibaba is a Chinese e-commerce company that has rapidly grown into one of the world's largest technology companies. The company is majorly known for its online retail business, but it is also active in cloud computing, financial services and digital entertainment. The company's performance is closely linked to fluctuations in the Chinese economy and government policies, which can have a significant influence on the share price. It is therefore important to consider market trends, the company's financial performance and economic and political factors before making a decision to buy or sell Alibaba shares. In this article, we will look at the key factors to consider before making an investment decision in Alibaba shares.

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Information on Alibaba shares
ISIN code: US01609W1027
Ticker: HKG: 9988
Index or market: NYSE

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Elements to consider before selling or buying Alibaba shares

Analysis N°1

The first challenge to take into account about the future of this company is of course, its ability to expand to other markets other than the Chinese market. In fact, if the group has been able to gain a certain notoriety in its own country of origin, it counts with the necessary assets to conquer the world markets.

Analysis N°2

Of course, Alibaba also has to deal with some challenges such as the significant development of some of its competitors. In the Indian market for example, which is targeted as a priority by Alibaba, where this platform already has two very serious competitors Amazon and Flipkart who already have a solid reputation in the country. Alibaba will probably need some time to reach the level of these two entities which have been historically established in this country. In a more global way, Alibaba’s competition has become increasingly stronger in recent years particularly in the international scale where several major groups such as eBay, Amazon, JD and Tencent represent a serious challenge.

Analysis N°3

As we have just seen above, we also recommend you take into account China’s economic stability before taking a position.

Analysis N°4

Finally, the increasing demand for e-commerce platforms has led to a significant decline in profitability for companies such as Alibaba, which could lead to a loss of interest by investors for this security.

Analysis before buying or selling Alibaba shares
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General presentation of Alibaba

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Alibaba Group Holding is a Chinese company that provides an IT platform for individuals and businesses to buy and sell goods and services. Founded in 1999 by Jack Ma, Alibaba is today the leading Chinese online marketplace. The company's business is organised around three major areas.

  • The first is the operation of online trading platforms, with websites such as,,,, and These sites allow sellers to sell their products online, while buyers can make online purchases in complete security and confidence.
  • The second business area is the provision of online payment services, provided by the platform. This platform allows buyers and sellers to make secure transactions using a variety of payment methods.
  • The third business area includes the development of price comparison portals, web interfaces and applications, and cloud-based IT infrastructure management platforms.

Alibaba's revenue is mainly derived from the sale of online shopping services, which account for 85.5% of its total revenue. Sales of IT services account for 5.4% of its revenue, while other revenue sources account for 9.1% of its revenue.

Alibaba has grown rapidly over the years and has become a leading technology company in China and around the world. It has established a strong presence in the Chinese e-commerce market and is now one of the world's major technology companies. It has also expanded its business into other areas, such as finance, media and digital entertainment.

Photo credits: Daniel Cukier

The major competitors of Alibaba

We now propose to discover who are Alibaba's main competitors in its main sector of activity, namely online sales, with a presentation of the largest companies in this sector around the world.


Of course, Alibaba's first and most important competitor is the American giant Amazon. This American online retailer is based in Seattle and has been one of the giants of the web for many years. Its activities have developed strongly over the years and the group now offers online sales of all kinds of products. In 1997, three years after its creation, Amazon was listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Today, the company employs more than one million people worldwide and its website is one of the most visited websites in the world. It is accessible and adapted in many countries.

Another competitor to Alibaba is the Chinese group, which is also a company specialising in online commerce and was founded by Liu Qiangdong. Formerly specialising in the sale of electronic devices, this company now distributes consumer products. The platform is also the second largest e-commerce platform in terms of number of customers in China. JD currently has no less than 292.5 million active customers. Its operation is very similar to that of Amazon, since it sells goods directly to its customers that it owns because it has purchased them in advance, which has forced the company to set up a network of warehouses and invest a lot of money in logistics.


Another competitor of Alibaba is the transnational American group Walmart, which specialises in mass retailing. Walmart has been operating in China since 1996 and now employs tens of thousands of workers and owns over 419 shops. But the group is also present in other countries with more than 27 countries and owns approximately 71 subsidiaries. It is the largest private sector employer in the United States.


Still in the retail sector, the Macy's Group is an American retail chain based in New York and is known for sponsoring a Thanksgiving Day parade in the street of that city. Macy's has also owned Bloomingdale's shops since 1994.


Finally, we should also consider Apple, an American multinational company that creates and markets consumer electronics. It is also known that this group currently employs more than 137,000 people and runs more than 506 Apple Stores in 25 different countries. It also operates an online store where it sells both its own products and products from other companies.

The major partners of Alibaba

AXA & Ant Financial

In 2016, the group AXA, Alibaba and Ant Financial Services signed an agreement of global strategic alliance with the aim of exploring together the opportunities of distribution of its products and insurance services of the French group through Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, and more specifically for businesses and customers that were already buying and selling online through Alibaba’s platform.


The same year, it was the group Nestle that stablished a partnership with Alibaba in order to introduce its products in the Chinese market which was very closed until then. Hundreds of Nestle products have been sold on the Alibaba platforms.

Crédit Agricole

Always in 2016, Credit Agricole also became a partner of Alibaba to offer car insurances to customers who have purchased a vehicle on Alibaba’s platform through its subsidiary GMC-Sofinco.

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Positive factors for Alibaba shares
The factors in favour of a rise in the Alibaba share price:

To start investing on a Chinese asset such as Alibaba, it is necessary to know good the advantages and the strengths of this stock market title and its possibilities to evolve positively in the years to come. Here is therefore a summary of the advantages of this group.

The first advantage of Alibaba is of course the scale of its operations as well as the market in which the group operates which is mainly the Chinese market which is one of the most sought after in the world. China is in fact the most populated country in the world but also a country in full economic development and is therefore an important economic leader. However, it is particularly difficult even for large international companies to enter into this very profitable market. But Alibaba has accomplished this very quickly!

Another advantage of Alibaba concerns this time the company’s shares on the market. Just as we mentioned above, Alibaba is a key player in the Chinese market, where it held nearly 58% of shares on the market in 2017. Its closest competitor only holds 22% of shares on the market. To accomplish this, Alibaba has taken advantage of the strong support from large-scale producers that enables it to supply its products in the Chinese market as well as to the rest of the world.

Alibaba is also a visionary leader. In fact, the group is directed since a long time by Jack Ma who has an evident knowledge and avant garde vision of the market. The same way that Steve Job was behind the success of Apple, Jack Ma is known for being at the origin of Alibaba’s success and growth. It is obvious that the company has big chances to benefit, in the future, from the advice and vision of this iconic leader and therefore benefit from optimal management.

Finally, one of the main advantages of Alibaba is the good relationships that the group has with its different partners. And those partners are numerous since the company offers such a good environment. Alibaba offers merchants and consumers as well as third party merchants, financial systems, scalable platforms and efficient storage and cloud solutions, which makes this company particularly attractive.

Negative factors for Alibaba shares
The factors in favour of a drop in the Alibaba share price:

We have just discussed about Alibabas advantages and how this company could be attractive for investors, who want to invest on this title especially through CFDs. But before embarking on such speculation, it is necessary of course to take a look at the weaknesses or main disadvantages of this group. Here is therefore a summary of Alibaba’s weaknesses.

The first weakness of Alibaba’s business model is strangely its success. In fact, this platform does not limit the number of sellers that can subscribe to the platform to commercialize their products. That could lead to a significant increase in the number of sellers every year but also to an increase in the level of competition between those sellers. Even if at the end customers benefit of course from this strong competition to make good deals, the sellers could, eventually, no longer bear the excessive competition that weights on its profitability. The latter could therefore finally end their contract with Alibaba which will pose of course some problems to the company. Let’s recall, that some years ago, there were around 8.5 million sellers on this platform, but this figure has continued increasing. This is the reason why many of the most popular sellers have quickly pulled out from selling their products online on Alibaba’s platforms Taobao and Tmall.

Another negative point about this company concerns the very high level of discount. In fact, Alibaba’s pricing policy does not allow sellers to sell their products at fair and profitable prices. It is mainly through the rental of advertising spaces that this group generates most of its revenues. However, the sellers who are forced to sell their products at low cost could also decide to leave the ship for a more cost-effective solution.

Finally, you should of course take into account the very particular trade policy in China and the limits sometimes imposed on companies which could hinder or impede their development. Alibaba could therefore not beneficiate from the same freedom than its main competitors and thus lose important shares on the market.

The information supplied here is only for indicative purposes and should not be used without the completion of a comprehensive and complete fundamental analysis of this asset notably taking into account exterior data, future publications and announcements and all fundamental events and news that could influence the strengths and weaknesses or make them more or less significant. This information does not in any way constitute recommendations relating to the completion of transactions or a solicitation to buy or sell an asset.

Frequently Asked Questions

On which markets are the Alibaba shares quoted?

The Alibaba Group shares are quoted on the New York stock exchange where they made their initial appearance 19 September 2014.  The share price was quoted for the first time at this moment at 68 dollars. It was also the largest IPO on the stock markets worldwide with a total amount of 25 billion dollars. In November 2019 Alibaba shares also made their entry onto the Asian stock markets in Hong Kong. This quotation on two financial marketplaces was made possible due to changes in the regulations in 2018.

What are the turnover sources of the Alibaba Group?

The turnover figures for the Alibaba Group are derived from different segments and different activity sectors. In fact, for the year 2022, over 85.5% of the group’s turnover was generated by the sale of online commercial services through a platform bearing the same name as the company. We also note that 5.4% of this turnover was from the sale of IT services. The remaining 9.1% of the turnover was derived from various associated activities.

What are the financial ratios for the Alibaba Group?

For the fiscal year 2022, Alibaba Group's financial ratios have been published as follows:

  • The ratio of net income to equity is 15.2%.
  • The ratio of net income to sales is 44.58%.
  • The employee ratio is 22.07%.
Of course, these are the ratios published by the company last year. The new ratios will be published in March 2023 for the year 2022.

How much do you have to spend to buy Alibaba shares?

Alibaba's share price is variable and fluctuates according to stock market conditions and supply and demand. The Alibaba share price is listed on the stock exchange, and can therefore vary at any time depending on economic events, the company's financial results, important announcements, etc. For example, over the last 5 years, Alibaba's share price has fluctuated between $14 and over $300 depending on the group's announcements, the economic situation and the evolution of its turnover. It is therefore important to follow the company's news and the stock market in general before deciding to buy or sell Alibaba shares. It is also advisable to consult a stockbroker or financial advisor for specific information and advice on investing in Alibaba shares.

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