The Applicant (hereinafter referred to as "Alibaba") is a privately held holding company which operates a variety of businesses through a number of subsidiaries and affiliates (collectively referred to as ʺAlibaba Groupʺ). Alibaba Group was founded in 1999 by Jack Ma, a pioneer who has aspired... Read more
The Applicant (hereinafter referred to as "Alibaba") is a privately held holding company which operates a variety of businesses through a number of subsidiaries and affiliates (collectively referred to as ʺAlibaba Groupʺ). Alibaba Group was founded in 1999 by Jack Ma, a pioneer who has aspired to help make the Internet accessible, trustworthy and beneficial for everyone. Since then, Alibaba Group has become a global leader in the field of electronic commerce.
Alibaba Group operates, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, a family of Internet-based businesses including online marketplaces that facilitate business-to-business (B2B) international and domestic China trade, retail business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) platforms, payment platforms, shopping search engine and data-centric cloud computing services. Alibaba Group reaches Internet users in more than 240 countries and regions, and including its affiliated entities, employs more than 25,000 people in some 70 cities in the Greater China, India, Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
In addition, Alibaba Group's affiliates also provide other Internet based services, such as software applications, domain name registrations, website hosting and solutions, email hosting and technology-related consulting services on various marketplaces and platforms. Most of the operations of Alibaba Group are directed from the People's Republic of China ("PRC").
Alibaba Group's major shareholders are the global search engine service provider, Yahoo! Inc. and the Japan-based telecommunication service provider, Softbank Corp., both are Internet business giants.
Over the past years, Alibaba Group has built a global exposure and a truly international clientele. One of the subsidiaries of Alibaba Group, Alibaba.com Limited, has been listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since November 2007 (HKSE: 1688.HK).
Since 1999, Alibaba Group has developed and launched various businesses and activities, most of them have been traded and promoted under the highly reputable "Alibaba" brand, including but not limited to, "Alibaba Group", "Alibaba.com", "Alibaba Japan", and more recently, "Alibaba Cloud Computing". Alibaba Group also established other core brands, such as "TAOBAO" and "TMALL".
In May 2003, Alibaba Group founded the brand "TAOBAO" (in Chinese "淘宝") at www.taobao.com (also known as "淘宝网" in Chinese), a Chinese language B2C and C2C Internet retail platform, focused on Chinese consumers but also available to consumers outside the PRC through the services of various agents. In the last eight years, the B2C and C2C platform operated under the "TAOBAO" brand (the ʺTaobao Marketplaceʺ) has grown to become Chinaʹs largest online retail platform and the primary online shopping destination in the PRC. The Taobao Marketplace's transaction volume exceeded RMB200 billion (US$29 billion) in 2009. According to government statistics, online retail equaled approximately 1.98% of the PRC's total retail trade in 2009. According to China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the PRC had 485 million Internet users as of June 30, 2011. The Taobao Marketplace currently holds more than 370 million registered users and over 800 million product listings showcased on its websites. The Taobao Marketplace receives more than 50 million unique visitors daily and is one of the world's top 20 most visited websites according to the Alexa and DoubleClick Ad Planner by Google, Inc.
The growth of Alibaba Group, and the success of the "TAOBAO" branded services, have garnered a significant amount of media attention and resulted in a high public profile for Alibaba Group and the "TAOBAO" brand globally. Alibaba Groupʹs B2C and C2C businesses and services are and have always been carried on, supplied and marketed continuously and substantially under and/or by reference to the "TAOBAO" brand. The date of first use of the "TAOBAO" brand (including but not limited to, "TAOBAO", "Taobao.com", "淘宝", "淘宝网") was in May 2003 and since then Alibaba Group has been commonly known under that brand in relation to B2C and C2C Internet retailing services.
Alibaba Group has been promoting the "TAOBAO" brand extensively since 2003 via the Internet and through publicity and advertising in trade press and other print media and has expended significant time and efforts in promoting its products and services available at the Taobao Marketplace, including but not limited to, the "TAOBAO" brand, across the Asia Pacific region particularly in Chinese speaking countries.
In 2008, Alibaba Group introduced "Taobao Mall", a B2C platform accessible at a sub-domain from the Taobao Marketplace, at: http://mall.taobao.com, which has been designed to include listings from brand owners or authorised distributors (as opposed to the listings by individuals and small to medium sized enterprises included on the Taobao Marketplace). This B2C platform has more than 400 million registered users, features more than 70,000 major multi-national and Chinese brands (including Adidas, Lenovo, Uniqlo and Proctor and Gamble), and has enjoyed a majority share of the PRCʹs B2C online retail market.
In 2010, Alibaba Group rebranded "Taobao Mall" as "Tmall" (which is an abbreviation of the "Taobao Mall" trade mark) giving it an independent website located at www.tmall.com (the "Tmall Marketplace").
The Tmall Marketplace is Alibaba Group's dedicated B2C platform that was launched based on the "Taobao Mall" concept originating in 2008. The Tmall Marketplace, which has been extensively promoted and marketed under the "TMALL" brand, has became an independent business and core brand in Alibaba Group dissociating from the Taobao business and the Taobao Marketplace completely in June 2011. The Tmall Marketplace became a major online shopping destination for quality brands in the PRC.
In order to underpin the further international roll-out of the "TMALL" brand and its services, the Applicant has decided to submit an application for the .TMALL gTLD.
According to the Applicant, the purpose of the .TMALL TLD may be manifold, as will be further explained below:
i. Reflect the highly distinctive and recognizable "TMALL" brand at the top level of the DNS in order to further support the platform's day-to-day activities, for the benefit of the Applicant, its affiliates, the "TMALL" brand connected businesses and consumers;
ii. Provide stakeholders of the Applicant, including affiliates, partners, businesses, consumers, sponsorships (i.e. Alibaba's engagement in sponsoring activities), and their respective directors, officers, employees, with a recognizable and trusted identifier on the Internet;
iii. Provide such stakeholders with a secure and safe Internet environment that is mainly or even fully under the control of the Applicant and its subcontractors;
iv. Gradually offering content in multiple languages and services to a larger international audience, directly or indirectly accessible under specific domain names registered in the .TMALL gTLD, referring to, amongst others, product categories, brands, etc.×