On June 8, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba drew "gasps of wow" from investors as it presented forecasted sales growth of 45 to 49 percent this year, 10 percentage points ahead of analysts' expectations.
And today, Chris Tung, its chief marketing officer, told an audience of advertising and media executives – not CFOs – that it sold an enormous $550 billion of merchandise in the last fiscal year, and served more than 500 million Chinese consumers alone.
Tung claimed that the business is the largest retailer in the world, ahead of Walmart, and prefers to be known as a marketplace connecting sellers and buyers, rather than simply an e-commerce platform. Often called the "Amazon of China," he added that it's different from the U.S. company, because it doesn't own or sell products.
He explained to an audience at the Cannes Lions advertising festival, that local Chinese brands, ecommerce and mobile are the driving forces behind its increasing sales.