Inside track: Alibaba

By Jacob Schindler

No Chinese company attracted greater international attention last year than Alibaba Group, thanks to its record-smashing listing on the NYSE. World Trademark Review sat down with Karen Law in Hong Kong to discuss the brands, the float and the ongoing fight against fakes

Many people know that Alibaba Group was founded in Jack Ma’s Hangzhou apartment 16 years ago; far fewer know the origin of the brand. Ma says that he was sitting in a coffee shop in San Francisco when the name ‘Alibaba’ struck him as the perfect moniker for a business. He ran into the street asking passers-by whether they recognised it and quickly realised that he had stumbled onto something special. Not only was ‘Alibaba’ familiar to people of all backgrounds, but the first thing it brought to mind was a phrase that summed up the very effect that Ma was hoping to have on the Chinese internet space: “Open Sesame.”

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