Alibaba Group : Persuading new investors

A Chinese e-commerce giant uses its corporate website to make a compelling investment case.

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The feature

China-based Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest e-commerce company measured by value of merchandise sold, uses the concise and visually engaging ‘Alibaba Group at a glance’ page on its English-language site to appeal to investors outside the country. The page, housed within the investor relations (IR) section, leads with five key messages, each headlined in bold and set off with original thumbnail sketches: ‘Largest online and mobile commerce company’; ‘Transforming commerce in China’; etc.

Below this, a set of click-to-expand panels of text address the key benefits of investing including ‘large China commerce opportunity, ‘proven management team’ and ‘clear growth strategies.’

In addition, a three-minute video on the IR landing page, an About section that clearly describes the various businesses within the group, and an investor-friendly company history section supplement the group’s strong online pitch for foreign investment.

The takeaway

The ‘Alibaba Group at a glance’ page makes efficient use of space to present key information of interest to investors. For example, six bullets points under ‘Clear Growth Strategies’ (one of the click-to-expand panels) manage to be simple yet appropriately detailed at the same time. All of the investment case elements together – the ‘at a glance’ page, the video, the About section and history – give a clear sense of the company’s existing businesses, reasons behind its success and strategy for the future. Also, we could not find any mistakes in the English text (a frequent bugbear of English versions of Chinese sites), suggesting that Alibaba has wisely invested in native-speaking copywriters.

Many corporate IR sections focus on investors and analysts who already know the company, without any serious attempt to engage potential investors and researching analysts. Alibaba, which has made several forays outside its home market recently, not least the largest initial public offering in history in September 2014, has compelling business reasons to buck the trend. Its online efforts to answer the question ‘why invest?’ are exceptional for a Chinese company, which are usually weak in this area, but are worth emulating in any market.
First published 15 April, 2015
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