Alibaba does an Apple, looks to rival companies for new talent

Alibaba has reportedly been eyeing up software developers in Amazon and Microsoft’s back garden, after establishing two operational bases in Seattle and Silicon Valley, California.

Searching for potential candidates through LinkedIn, Alibaba has taken at least 10 developers from Microsoft and around the same number from its e-commerce rival Amazon, alongside hiring developers from Facebook and Google.

It is part of a push by Alibaba to establish several US operational studios, where it will be able to work on creating business relations with US companies to ship overseas to the massive e-commerce audience in China.

Alibaba is also potentially looking into launching its Taobao and Tmall service in Europe and North America in the next few years, and having a large US workforce would be helpful in achieving a smooth launch.

The e-commerce giant has a big interest in cloud computing specifically, as it tries to branch out into more than just selling products. Alibaba has a payments service (AliPay) and is about to launch a private bank in China, both services could expand to other countries in the future.

Alibaba’s presence in Silicon Valley is nothing new. It has invested in US companies for over three years now, and Yahoo owns a large percentage of the e-commerce giant’s stock, one reason why Yahoo still maintains profitability.

The surge into Silicon Valley and Seattle comes a few months after the successful NYSE IPO, the largest IPO ever. Alibaba’s stock has dropped from its peak of $115 (£77) and is currently trading at $82 (£54) with a valuation of $205 billion (£137 billion).