Alibaba is a massive Chinese company that has been dominating the e-commerce market. It's often considered to be one of the most successful companies in China. And it's no wonder why - with reported revenues of over $100 billion, Alibaba is doing something right. While many attribute Alibaba’s success to the company’s innovative business model others think Alibaba is the product of the Chinese government. So, is Alibaba state-owned?

Let's take a look at the evidence and see if we can answer this question once and for all.

Is Alibaba state-owned?

Alibaba is not state-owned, but it is a Chinese company. Many of Alibaba's shares are owned by Jack Ma, who is a Chinese entrepreneur that co-founded the company. Joseph Tsai, the other co-founder also owns a large amount of Alibaba's equity. 

Institutions such as Softbank, Altaba, Blackrock, and T. Rowe Price also co-own Alibaba. However, the Chinese government does not have any ownership stake in Alibaba. Mainly because they don't have to go through capitalistic equity ownership to control how the company is run. 

They do not need to be an Alibaba shareholder to control and monitor the company because their political system gives the government that power. The Chinese government does have a big say in what happens with Alibaba as with most Chinese businesses that operate at a large scale. This extends not only to Alibaba but to other competitors

The Chinese Communist Party can appoint members to Alibaba's board of directors. They have also been known to give direct orders to Jack Ma, as well as other Chinese tech moguls. So, while the Chinese government doesn't own Alibaba, they do have a lot of power and control over the company. This is something to keep in mind when doing business with Alibaba or any other Chinese company for that matter.

Who is Alibaba owned by?

As a review, the largest owners of Alibaba are: 

  • Jack Ma 
  • Joseph Tsai 
  • T. Rowe Price 
  • Blackrock 
  • Softbank 
  • Altaba 

Alibaba (BABA) is a publicly-traded company on the NYSE as well as the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. This means that it is also partially owned by retail investors who have purchased Alibaba stock. Although the ownership is much smaller than that of the institutional investors, it is still worth mentioning.

Are all companies in China owned by the government?

It's important to understand how China's governance works when it comes to capitalistic enterprises. In China, the government owns what's called the "means of production." This includes land, factories, and resources. 

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controls these assets and businesses are required to get approval from the CCP to operate. Private property does exist in China in the same way that exists in Western countries such as the US, Europe, and Canada. 

However, the government still has the power to confiscate land or property for "public use." This means that, technically, no one in China truly owns their property. Without true property ownership, it's difficult to say that an individual free-market enterprise owns its business. While it's true that the Chinese government has a lot of control over businesses, not all companies are owned by the state. In fact, most businesses in China are privately owned. 

Alibaba is one example of a privately owned Chinese company. So while the Chinese government does have a lot of influence over businesses, not all of them are state-owned enterprises. However, the power of the Chinese government over businesses should not be underestimated. 

The CCP still has a lot of control when it comes to setting regulations and policies that businesses have to follow. Additionally, the Chinese government can intervene in companies if they're deemed to be threatening national security or stability. For example, the government could order a company to change its business practices or stop operating altogether. 

If a media company is allowing anti-government sentiment to be spread, the government could shut it down. So, while the government might not own all companies in China for economic reasons, they can still own their assets through authoritarian means. 

The Chinese government does own businesses within their jurisdiction, but technically most are privately owned. However, the state still has a lot of power and control when it comes to business operations in China. 

Are Chinese companies state-owned?

Not all Chinese companies are state-owned. In fact, most of them are privately owned, just like Alibaba. The only difference is that private companies in China may have to comply with certain regulations that state-owned companies do not. 

For example, the Chinese government may tell a private company that they need to use certain censorship filters on their website. Or they may order a private company to stop doing business with a certain country or person. 

The Chinese government also has the power to nationalize a private company if they so choose. This means that the government would take ownership of the company and its assets. They would then have full control over how the company is run. However, this is not something that happens often. 

The Chinese government usually only nationalizes companies when it's in the best interest of the country. Generally, they allow capitalism to flourish within their communistic system to allow for a free flow of capital from other nations into China. 

So, while the Chinese government does have a lot of power over private companies, not all of them are state-owned. Chinese public companies are owned by the shareholders, such as Jack Ma, Joseph Tsai, and other retail and institutional investors. The Chinese government does not own or operate Alibaba. 

Is Alibaba Chinese owned?

Yes, Alibaba is a Chinese company, and many of its largest shareholders are Chinese citizens. However, the company is not entirely Chinese-owned, since there are other significant shareholders that are not Chinese citizens. 

It was founded in 1999 by Jack Ma, a Chinese business magnate, and several other co-founders. Alibaba is headquartered in Hangzhou, China. The majority of shares of Alibaba are owned by Jack Ma and other Chinese co-founders. 

Alibaba is one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world. It operates worldwide and has over 1.31 billion active users. Alibaba's businesses include online shopping, payments, cloud computing, and film production. 

This is how it has expanded beyond e-commerce and become one of the largest tech conglomerates in the world. Alibaba is often compared to because it is also an e-commerce company. 

However, Alibaba is different from Amazon in several ways. First, Alibaba is focused on the Chinese market, while Amazon is a global company. Second, Alibaba does not sell products itself but instead operates as a platform for other businesses to sell their products. This company capitalized on the growing demand for Chinese exports by connecting suppliers from China to businesses all around the world. 

The Chinese government does not own the company but due to its economic usefulness, it is often considered state-affiliated. So, to answer the question, yes Alibaba is a Chinese-owned company. However, it is important to note that not all of the shares are owned by Chinese founders as Alibaba is traded on the stock market and anyone can purchase shares.


The answer to whether or not Alibaba is state-owned is a little complicated. While Alibaba isn't technically owned by the Chinese government, Jack Ma is a member of the Chinese Communist Party. Simply because he became majorly successful within the CCP's jurisdiction. 

He has close ties to the government, whether he likes it or not. Jack Ma's disappearance in 2020 after a verbal attack against the Chinese banking system might give us clues. How much control does the Chinese government truly have over these businesses? We might never know because it might be considered whistleblowing if anyone admitted it with evidence.