In 2007, Alibaba’s Taobao became China’s leading consumer e-commerce marketplace, displacing the once dominant eBay. How did underdog Taobao do it? And will it be able to find a way to monetize its marketplace and ensure future success?
Harvard Business School professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee discusses his case, “Alibaba’s Taobao,” (https://store.hbr.org/product/alibaba-s-taobao-a/709456?sku=709456-PDF-ENG) and related strategy lessons from his new book, Better, Simpler Strategy: A Value-Based Guide to Exceptional Performance.
This episode originally aired on Cold Call on July 13, 2021.
You can also listen to this episode on HBR.org, and wherever you listen to podcasts:
– HBR.org (transcript available here): https://hbr.org/podcast/2021/07/strategies-for-underdogs-how-alibabas-taobao-beat-ebay-in-china
– Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/strategies-for-underdogs-how-alibabas-taobao-beat-ebay/id1156646189?i=1000528732591
– Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/6Nqto2Ht84orCG8tWWB3Lb?si=6c64dd3d99fb4c72
– Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/show/cold-call/episode/strategies-for-underdogs-how-alibabas-taobao-beat-ebay-in-china-85390546
– Google Podcasts: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cDovL2ZlZWRzLmhhcnZhcmRidXNpbmVzcy5vcmcvaGFydmFyZGJ1c2luZXNzL2NvbGQtY2FsbA/episode/dGFnOmF1ZGlvLmhici5vcmcsMjAxNi0wOS0xNjpjb2xkLWNhbGwuMDE1Mg?sa=X&ved=0CAIQuIEEahcKEwi4yMi53dL_AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQLA
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00:00 – Intro
3:27 – Network Effects
5:44 – About Alibaba and Jack Ma
9:36 – eBay Sizing Up China / Meg Whitman
11:59 ¬– Taobao’s Local Knowledge Advantage
13:57 – Taobao’s Early Strategic Decisions
19:51 – Underdog Platform vs. Asset-based Companies
23:02 – Taobao’s Revenue Model
26:32 – Outro
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