Jack Ma’s e-commerce empire Alibaba Group is aiming to achieve 1 trillion dollars in gross merchandise value by 2020.
The company’s founder and chairman revealed his ambitious target during Alibaba’s Investor Day last week at its HQ in Hangzhou, according to TechCrunch. He said that the target GMV is equivalent to the world’s fifth-largest country by gross domestic product, following the United States, China, the European Union, and Japan.
To reach their goal, the company needs to more than double its last fiscal year’s total GMV of $463 billion. Ma said that in addition to e-commerce, Alibaba’s growth strategy will include cloud computing and big data unit Aliyun.
Alibaba “is not a retail business, we are a data business,” Ma told investors, saying that its primary focus now is collecting consumer data.
Ma, however, admitted, “We don’t know how to make money off data today, but we know nobody can live without data in the future.”
He was quick to warn to not base his company’s valuation on GMV alone as such measures could soon be irrelevant.
“Fifteen years ago, I had a problem with my venture capitalist investors. They kept asking, in 2001, 2002, what is your revenue, what are your page views? At that time page views was the business model, then click rate was the business model,” Ma said.
“Then in 2005, we started giving something called GMV that we learned from eBay. Investors needed it so we gave it to them and it became standard. But in our heart, we know this is not the only index.”
The company also expressed its need to expand outside China to reach and cater to over 2 billion people by 2020. Alibaba has set its sights on neighboring countries in Southeast Asia and India and has made significant investments in companies such as Lazada and Paytm.