Hangzhou is also the birthplace of Alibaba Group. We have visited West Lake, where Jack Ma, founder of Ali Baba used to go to practice his English with foreigners. Then we accidentally bump into the Hupan University where Jack Ma started a few years ago to train entrepreneurs. On our last day in Hangzhou, we decided to check out the Ali Baba headquarter.
There are two Alibaba offices in Hangzhou, one is at Xixi Campus, and another one in Binjiang Park. Ali Baba in Xixiyuan is also called Taobao city, located in Hangzhou Future Science and Technology City. The Xixi Campus is the newest one as compared to the one in Binjiang Park. If you tell the taxi driver you want to visit Ali Baba headquarter, he will ask you which one? The two are located at a different location. Xixi Campus is located about 45mins to an hour taxi ride from Hangzhou city center.
The Xixi campus is home to 20,000 of the employees, the layout looks stunning already from the outside. You can see a cute Taobao mascot in orange color. The sunny orange represents Taobao’s young corporate image. Taobao Mascot is also sometimes called as Tao dolls. There are actually a huge collection of Tao dolls and you can see some of them in the information center.
To be honest, there are a huge range of Tao dolls, some are so cute and some are weird-looking. What are these Tabao mascot? These are actually ant insects that can be seen almost everywhere. Ants can be found almost in every household and also one of the largest numbers of insect species and always work in a group. The ant also represents a spirit of perseverance and optimism and never give up.
This can be related to the rapid development of internet users who were born without going out of their house or traveling, but just use the mouse pad and type the keyboard in front of the computers to do business and making a living. Taobao has helped so many people in the countryside in China to make a living and have a better life.
Sadly, you can only visit Taobao City when you have done some registration and appointment online. Best if you have some friends who work there and can bring you inside to have a look at the facilities. Unlike Google Campus in Mountain View California, where visitors can still enter the campus freely and ride on their bikes, Ali Baba Xixi Campus is only open to their customers or users.
The facilities are as good as the one at Google Campus or can be better. Of course, you will see a lot of Chinese elements in the Xixi Campus.
This is a high tech campus that uses face recognition security access and cashless payment for food. Well, in China almost everywhere uses cashless payment now. Adjacent to the campus, there is the Alibaba hotel of the future, Flyzoo. Flyzoo hotel is a new high tech experience and you can check in anytime at the kiosk by showing your passport which has been registered in the booking. Face recognition will be used for entering your room and elevator or gym facilities.
Nearby you will see a series of interesting architectures that give a non-conventional visual impression, making the buildings a group of futuristic city sculptures.