Alibaba to open office in area soon? — Chinese e-commerce giant could make Seattle its second US office

By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly

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Wang Jian

All indications point to Chinese tech giant, Alibaba, setting up an office in the area. Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce and technology company, is recruiting for jobs in the Seattle area. This has led many to conclude that an office for the company will not be far behind. Alibaba is set to go public with a much-anticipated Initial Public Offering (IPO) in September.

The company specializes in Internet-based e-commerce, including online and mobile marketplaces, retail, and wholesale trade, as well as cloud computing services according to its website. Alibaba has been described as Amazon.com, eBay, Google, and PayPal of China all wrapped into one.

Recent job listings have openings for mobile engineering positions for the company, giving employees the ability to be based in the Seattle region or in Alibaba’s home region in Hangzhou, China per industry news site Geekwire. Although the company has yet to make an official announcement, the job listings leads many to believe that the company will soon announce plans for an office in the Pacific Northwest.

An event in Bellevue earlier this year sponsored by Alibaba drew a packed house. Although the night in which company executives spoke with the local tech community was not an official recruiting event, it did gauge the level of interest it had with the tech region.

In an interview with Geekwire, the company’s chief technology officer, Wang Jian, indicated that having presence in the Seattle region “might make sense.” The headquarters are located in the Xixi District of Hangzhou, China. According to the company website, it maintains 73 offices in mainland China and 16 offices outside mainland China. If a Seattle area office is established, it would be the second office in the United States, which would further expose the company to the tech industry in the country. It currently has an engineering office in the Silicon Valley. As of March 2014, it employs more than 22,000 people around the world.

The company, founded in 1999, is spearheaded by entrepreneur Jack Ma. In 1995, Ma created what is believed to be China’s first Internet-based company, the China Yellowpages. Alibaba currently serves more than 79 million members from more than 240 countries and territories.

The name Alibaba was chosen by Ma, as it brings to mind the term “open sesame” which the company relates to the company’s platforms opening doorways to fortune for small businesses. The term comes from the folk tale, “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” in which the main character learns of the phrase which opens a den of riches.

The company’s latest filings value Alibaba at $130 billion. With the company going public in September, the value of the company could shoot up as it is being touted as the biggest tech IPO in history. (end)

Jason Cruz can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.

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