Will the Chinese e-commerce giant expand into the U.S. and compete with Amazon?
But that question gets Alibaba all wrong. Yes, it sells stuff online, but Alibaba is very much its own beast. Parallels drawn between Alibaba and U.S. tech giants—from Amazon to Google to Microsoft—are bound to break down. The only real point of comparison is that Alibaba is poised to become just as giant as they are.
Or even bigger. After all, unlike Amazon, Alibaba makes a lot of money.
To understand Alibaba's success—and its potential—you have to account for everything Alibaba does, which is not easy to condense into an elevator pitch. A recent Forrester Research report called Alibaba "the world's biggest digital ecosystem." That description may sound jargon-y and vague, but it provides a pretty good indication its sprawling operation.