A company as an economy? Alibaba says it can be world’s fifth-largest by 2036

E-commerce giant will serve 2 billion customers and support 10 million businesses on its platforms in 19 years’ time, says founder Jack Ma

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 June, 2017, 7:36pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 June, 2017, 10:55pm

Alibaba Group Holding, the world’s largest e-commerce platform operator, aims to become the fifth-largest “economy” in the world by 2036, founder Jack Ma Yun said on Friday.

In 19 years’ time, the technology giant would have created 100 million jobs and would support 10 million profitable businesses on its platforms as it strove to become a global business in the truest sense, serving as many as two billion consumers worldwide, the executive chairman told about 400 investors at its headquarters in Hangzhou.

The Chinese firm, which runs the popular Taobao and Tmall e-commerce platforms, has set a target to achieve US$1 trillion in gross merchandise volume in 2019 – the 2020 financial year – which would make it roughly the 16th- or 17th-largest “economy” in the world, according to Ma. He said Alibaba’s gross merchandise value today already made it the 22nd-largest “economy” globally, just behind Argentina.

“If a company can serve two billion consumers, that is one-third of the total population of the world. If a company can create 100 million jobs, that is probably bigger than most governments can do. If a company can support 10 million profitable businesses on its platform, this is called an economy,” Ma told the audience.

At that point, Alibaba would become the No 5 “economy” in the world, just behind the United States, China, Europe and Japan, Ma said, without specifying the company’s projected gross merchandise value number by that year.

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