It's Official? Alibaba Doing More Business Than Amazon + eBay (Charts)

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore gave a shout-out to Alibaba Group at the 2013 Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition this week in Chicago, noting that China’s largest e-commerce company generated more GMV (gross merchandise value) than Amazon and eBay combined.

The inventor of the Internet may have misspoke himself a tad. Gore’s syntax implied that the comparison was confined to the fourth quarter of 2012. In fact, what was being compared was total GMV for the companies for all of 2012—it was during Q4 that Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms passed the two U.S. giants for the year. Well, he got the gist right.

Gore apparently sourced his material from stats offered by well-known tech pundit and KPCB partner Mary Meeker during a “state of the Internet” talk she gave at the Wall Street Journal's annual D: All Things Digital conference in California last week. Here’s the chart from her hard copy report, which appeared in a section entitled “Lots to Learn From China – Volume + Innovation.”

Meeker's report contained other charts reinforcing the notion that China is ground zero for the mobile Internet explosion.

The Chinese are now spending almost as much time staring at their mobile phones as watching TV.

Meanwhile ... back to gee-whiz statistics on China's booming e-commerce industry.

The China General Chamber of Commerce has released its annual China’s Top 100 Retailers Development Reading Report for 2012, which concluded that last year, eight online shopping websites accounted for nearly half of the overall sales growth rate of 20.2 percent registered by the country's major retailers.

The chamber evidently felt online retailing was too important to ignore any longer. This year’s report was the first to include online shopping websites. In the past, the chamber only counted brick-and-mortar retailers in its Top 100 list.

Eight e-tailers made the chamber's top 100: Tmall.com, JD.com, Tencent B2C, Amazon China, Dangdang.com, Vipshop.com, Yihaodian.com, and Vancl.com. The group of eight garnered total online sales revenue of RMB 346 billion in 2012, accounting for 14.5% of total retail sales for the top 100.

No. 1 in sales was appliance and consumer electronics giant Suning, which sells online and through physical stores. Suning’s sales totaled RMB 230 billion last year, according to the Chamber. Close behind in the No. 2 position was Tmall, China's largest B2C shopping website, with retail sales revenue of RMB 210 billion.