Alibaba’s Next Challenge: Managing Growth

Published on June 7, 2012
by Loretta Chao

After wresting control of his company’s boardroom in a battle with Yahoo Inc., the founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. says he is focused now on a bigger challenge: Managing runaway growth at the Chinese e-commerce giant.

“We don’t have any experience. We don’t know how to organize,” Jack Ma said in an interview.

The pace of growth threatens to overwhelm Alibaba, which Mr. Ma, a former English teacher, started in his apartment 13 years ago. Today, Hangzhou-based Alibaba has more than 23,000 employees. Taobao and Tmall, the company’s shopping Web sites, are expected to host a trillion yuan ($157 billion) in transactions this year, up 150 percent from 400 billion yuan in 2010. Taobao and Tmall are each less than 10 years old.

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