Status: Delegated
Registry Provider: Afilias
Type: Brand TLD
Priority #: 686 - Alibaba Group Holding Limited

More information: NTLDStatsLogo.png

.alibaba is a Brand TLD delegated to the Root Zone in ICANN's New gTLD Program on 16 January 2016. The registry is managed by Alibaba Group Holding Limited, with back-end services provided by Afilias.[1]

Application Details

The following is excerpted from the applicant's response to question #18:

"The intention of the Applicant, Alibaba Group Holding Limited (hereinafter referred to as “Alibaba” or “Applicant”) in filing this application is to proactively protect the ownership of its “Alibaba” trademark at the Internet Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) name space, and to provide a trusted, hierarchical and intuitive namespace for businesses and consumers that use Alibaba’s broad range of online e-commerce, trade, and payment services.

Applicant and the “Alibaba” brand

The brand “Alibaba” is transliterated from the Chinese brand: “阿里巴巴” which was founded in Hangzhou, China, by the Applicant in about 1999. Applicant is a privately held holding company registered in Cayman Islands and established in 1999 by Mr. Jack MA (as known as MA Yun in Chinese), a pioneer who has aspired to help make the Internet accessible, trustworthy and beneficial for all Chinese as well as for everyone in the world. As of today, Alibaba, through the operation by its subsidiaries and affiliates (together referred to as “Alibaba Group”), reach Internet users in more than 240 countries and regions, and have more than 25,000 employees in some 70 cities in Greater China, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. Alibaba Group has promoted it various “Alibaba” trademark, namely: “Alibaba Group”, “Alibaba.com”, “Alibaba.com Global Trade Starts Here”, “Alibaba Cloud Computing” (collectively referred to as the “Alibaba” brand”) extensively in relation to its businesses.

The following businesses are wholly owned or affiliated with Alibaba Group:

  • Alibaba.com Limited (hereinafter referred to as “Alibaba.com”) (HKSE: 1688.HK; www.alibaba.com, www.1688.com and www.aliexpress.com) – a publicly listed company at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in relation to e-commerce businesses
  • Taobao Marketplace (www.Taobao.com) - consumer-to-consumer (C2C) online shopping platform. Applicant is also applying for a .Taobao gTLD for brand protection purpose.
  • Tmall (www.Tmall.com) - business-to-consumer (B2C) online retail marketplace for branded products. Applicant is also applying for a .Tmall gTLD for brand protection purpose.
  • eTao (www.etao.com) – a search engine designed for online shoppers
  • Juhuasuan (www.juhuasuan.com) - the most comprehensive group shopping platform in China
  • Alibaba Cloud Computing (www.aliyun.com) - advanced data-centric cloud computing services platform
  • China Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com.cn) - one of China’s leading Internet portals
  • Alipay (www.alipay.com) - third-party online payment platform. Applicant is also applying for a .Alipay gTLD for brand protection purpose.

Among the companies listed above and specifically, Alibaba.com (HKSE: 1688.HK) is the flagship company of Alibaba Group and is the global leader in e-commerce businesses. Founded in 1999 in Hangzhou, China, Alibaba.com, through the operation by its affiliates, makes it easy for millions of buyers and suppliers around the world to do business online mainly through three marketplaces: a global trade platform (www.alibaba.com) for importers and exporters; a Chinese platform (www.1688.com) for domestic trade in China; and a transaction-based wholesale platform on the global site (www.aliexpress.com) geared for smaller buyers seeking fast shipment of small quantities of goods. Together, these marketplaces form a community of more than 76 million registered users in more than 240 countries and regions as at 31 December 2011.

As part of its strategy to transition into a holistic platform where small companies can build and manage their online businesses more easily, Alibaba.com also offers Chinese traders a wide array of business management software and Internet infrastructure services through its subsidiaries and affiliates, including but not limited to, HiChina ZhiCheng Technology Ltd., an ICANN accredited domain name registrar, and one stop export-related services for exporters in China, through Shenzhen One-Touch Enterprise Service Limited, as well as the provision of educational services to incubate enterprise management and e-commerce professionals. Alibaba.com also owns Vendio Services, Inc. and Auctiva Corporation, the leading service providers of third-party e-commerce solutions for online merchants in the United States. Alibaba.com has offices in more than 70 cities across Greater China, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Europe and the United States.

Alibaba.com completed its USD1.7 billion initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in November 2007, the biggest Internet Initial Public Offering (IPO) at the time since Googleʹs 2004 offering on the NASDAQ. In 2010, it was named one of the Forbes Global 2000 by Forbes Magazine, and Asia 200 by Wall Street Journal.

Alibaba has secured trademark rights for the mark “Alibaba” internationally in about 73 countries.

Potential Business Models

Applicant is still analyzing potential use case options on the type of domain names that will be permitted to be registered and by whom. The current approach is to initially allow only a limited number of Corporate Internal Users (CIU) to apply ⁄ register limited number of second level .Alibaba domain names. Besides the Applicant itself, a CIU may be a representative of an entity (registrant) and the entity is wholly owned or affiliated with Alibaba Group. This conservative approach shall meets the pre-defined trademark protection purpose and minimize potential technological, marketing and operational risks. Such approach, subject to change depending upon a range of external factors, will be reviewed at the regular basis. A consultative process with ICANN and relevant stakeholder shall take place prior to determination of any change of this approach. Most likely, Applicant will not make any such determination until after the first three years operation."[2]