Amazon vs Alibaba Business Models: What’s the Difference?

October 17, 2019 0 comments
Amazon vs Alibaba Business Models: What’s the Difference?

 An Overview of Amazon’s vs. Alibaba’s Business Models

An E-commerce( Electronic commerce)or marketplace continues to grow, as more consumers prefer the convenience of purchasing goods online. A number of companies, whether it is  large or  small have embraced the advantages of combining brick-and-mortar locations and supplemental internet-based storefronts to meet the needs of the vast majority of Customers.

However,E-commerce giants such as Amazon and Alibaba have become notable players in the e-commerce market by operating business  through an online presence. While Amazon and Alibaba each have distinct features that make them purely e-commerce companies, with their respective standard business models. Amazon is a massive retailer for both new and used goods, and Alibaba operates as a middleman between buyers and sellers.

Amazon’s Business Model

Amazon has often touted as the largest online retailer in the world,as it operates a business model with many moving parts selling goods directly. Small ratio of products are  offered to buyers through Amazon’s online storefront while inventory is kept in the company’s large network of warehouses. Most consumers visit the company’s site assuming its products are less expensive and readily available for purchase and shipping.

In addition to direct sales, Amazon provides a platform for other retailers to sell products to buyers. Products sold through Amazon’s partner retailers are often less common items or those with a higher purchase price, allowing Amazon to avoid holding slow-moving inventory that could dilute profit. While Amazon does not assess a fee for its retailer partners to list items for sale, the company does retain a portion of the sales price as commission.

Amazon also maintains a subscription-based business model through its Amazon Prime service, as well as a small electronics product line. Under a Prime account, Customers pay an annual fee to secure free two-day or same-day shipping on eligible items and have access to streaming media, such as digital music or movies. Amazon also generates revenue from selling its e-reader, the Kindle, and the e-book and mobile application purchases offered to Kindle owners.


Alibaba’s Business Model

Like Amazon is known to most American consumers as an E-commerce titan, China’s e-commerce market is dominated by Alibaba. Though the company operates through a unique combination of business models, Alibaba’s core business resembles that of eBay. Alibaba acts as a middleman between buyers and sellers online and facilitates the sale of goods between the two parties through its extensive network of websites. The largest site Taobao, operates as a fee-free marketplace where neither sellers nor buyers are assessed a fee for completing transactions. Rather, the nearly 7 million active sellers on Taobao pay to rank higher on the site’s internal search engine, generating advertising revenue for Alibaba that resembles Google’s core business model.

While the majority smaller merchants are utilizing the Taobao website while Alibaba also has a dedicated space for larger retailers.Another E-commerce site, Tmall is also owned and operated by Alibaba that caters to well-known brands including Gap, Nike, and Apple. Though Tmall has a fraction of the number of active sellers listed on Taobao, Alibaba is able to generate revenue from deposits, annual user fees, and sales commissions charged to retailers utilizing the site.

In addition to that, Alibaba has emerged as a competitor in the Chinese financial system. To combat customer concerns over the security and validity of transactions completed online, Alibaba has developed their own payment gateway, Alipay. As a secure payment system, it protects buyers in the event while sellers are unable or refuse to deliver goods sold.

Like Another Payment System Paypal, Alibaba payment gateway, Alipay also generates revenue from its newly launched micro-lending business arm that caters to individual borrowers.


  • Amazon sells products directly while also serving as an intermediary for other sellers, taking a cut of the sale.
  • Both E-commerce giants,Amazon and Alibaba are  operating business in large Scale without physical stores.
  • Amazon dominates the American shopping space, while Alibaba does the same in China.
  • Alibaba charges merchants fees to appear higher on its search rankings.

Ashok kuikel

Hi, I am Ashok Kuikel, WordPress Developer for WordPress Community. While Cloud Computing Associate and Alibaba MVP and ACA for Cloud Professional.

You can follow me on Social Media, GitHub, and via my Blog Channels.

Leave a Reply

Articles and Tutorials

We love writing about WordPress and latest plugins tutorials, WooCommerce stats, and much more.