#AceFinanceNews – CHINA (BAIGOU) – June 07 – Thousands of miles from Wall Street, where Alibaba Group has filed for a multi-billion-dollar IPO, Chinese farmers are swapping tractors for luxury cars after making fortunes through the Internet giant.
"All of our business is now on the Internet," said Huang Jianqiao, who grew up in rural poverty but now roars to work in a black Jaguar and flies with his wife on holidays to Paris, thanks to an on-line bag store that he says takes in 30 million yuan (S$6 million) each year.
He is one of thousands of Chinese farmers who have transformed their lives using on-line retail platforms created by Alibaba.
The group, which dominates China’s e-commerce market, combines aspects of eBay, Amazon, PayPal and other Western tech darlings, and according to analysts an investor frenzy could drive its value as high as US$200 billion (S$249.7 billion) when it goes public in the US later this year.
A world away from the plush boardrooms of New York, towers of cardboard boxes awaiting delivery to cities and villages across China are strewn across the cracked white tiles of Huang’s warehouse in Baigou.
Alibaba was founded in 1999 by former English teacher Jack Ma, who started with a platform for Chinese manufacturers to connect with foreign buyers but launched Taobao in 2003, just in time to tap into Chinese consumers connecting to the Internet and eager to spend their rising salaries.
China’s e-commerce market is now vast – with revenues estimated at US$210 billion in 2012 according to consulting firm McKinsey – and is widely predicted to overtake the United States to become the world’s biggest by the end of this year.
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