In the United States, finding a supplier is relatively easy. There are trade shows, industry pubs, numerous good general and vertical search engines. But as any company trying to set up operations in China knows, getting things done there can be a little more difficult than in the western world. If something goes wrong with one of your offshore suppliers, finding an adequate replacement can be difficult. Far less companies there have their own websites and the overall business information infrastructure is not as robust.
One of China’s solutions is Alibaba.com. Described as the “online dating service for global business,” Alibaba boasts nearly 25 million members, field sales and marketing offices in more than 30 countries, and more than 4,400 employees. On the site, you can search for just about anything, in any country. And while you may not have heard of it, it’s one of the most popular B2B sites in the world. Currently, it has an Alexa traffic rank of 167, meaning that, per Alexa, only 166 sites on the web have more traffic.
Last week, Alibaba.com went public raising nearly $1.5 billion for the company. Google raised $1.9 billion in its IPO.
On the initial day of trading, Alibaba’s stock price tripled. And while some of the initial exuberance has subsided, the stock currently is double its initial offering price.
If you’re doing B2B globally, whether you’re buying or selling, Alibaba is another search engine you need to consider.