I Used Alibaba to Make 280 Pairs of Brightly Colored Pants

I Used Alibaba to Make 280 Pairs of Brightly Colored Pants
To understand the company behind the biggest IPO ever, Sam Grobart set out to make some pants

Let me be honest: Until this summer, I didn’t really know what Alibaba was. It was easy enough to learn things about it: The collection of China’s biggest e-commerce sites accounts for 80 percent of all e-commerce in China, with its sites doing $248 billion in business last year, more than Amazon and EBay combined. Now it’s heading for what could be the biggest initial public offering in history.

Considering all that, I wanted more. Knowing about Alibaba seemed insufficient. I wanted to experience Alibaba. For me, that meant ordering a lot of pants. I could tell you all about this, but why don’t you just watch the video:

Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) –- Alibaba's IPO could be the biggest in history. Bloomberg's Sam Grobart explains how Alibaba works through the experience of ordering 280 pairs of pants manufactured overseas. Video by: Dan Przygoda, David Yim (Source: Bloomberg)

In short, Alibaba enabled me—with little knowledge and even less experience—to have 280 pairs of fluorescent denim pants custom made in 28 days for $4,503, including shipping ($16.08 per). At the end of the Pants Project, I finally figured out how to think about Alibaba: It’s the world’s largest 3D printer.

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