You've probably heard of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA) , but there's a good chance you don't know what they really do.

This is not just a Chinese version of Amazon (AMZN)  or eBay  (EBAY)  or PayPal (PPAL) ... it's all of those things and more.

Just look at Alibaba's e-commerce business. There's Taobao, which is China's largest online marketplace. It allows small businesses and individuals to not just sell items, but also provide product knowledge and lifestyle content.
Alibaba also runs more conventional consumer goods sites like Tmall which focuses on the Chinese market and AliExpress where you can shop here in the U.S.

Together these online businesses account for about 70% of Alibaba's revenue. We recently saw U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon buy Whole Foods (WFM) . What you might not know is that Alibaba has already been transforming grocery stores and department stores in China with its big data.

Most recently, news broke that Alibaba may be teaming up with Ford (F) , to help the automaker begin reaching Chinese consumers. 

Alibaba shows no sign of slowing down. The company told investors it predicts it will hit $1 trillion in gross merchandise value in 2020.

 

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Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 10.

 

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