methinks that alibaba.com is a nice idea but its functionality is not much further evolved than a run-of-the-mill forum. Maybe being a rich Chinese company just doesn’t translate well into a relentless Schumpeterian drive towards inventing and implementing new services, or something like that.
Now, let’s consider the case of EBay. Once EBay became popular, the new entrants on the market focused not on attempts to supplant them but rather on providing services to EBay users. I even heard about an “ecosystem” of businesses related specifically to providing services to folks using EBay.
Is there a similar phenomenon around alibaba? If you use alibaba as part of your job, do you use 3rd party services to get stuff that is not available directly via alibaba functionality? Or do you, maybe, know some things that would be nice to have there but that are not yet implemented by anybody, hence constituting a market niche for potential new entrants?