By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba will not make its U.S. headquarters in Seattle according to a recent report. Despite the company shopping for space in Bellevue, a company spokesperson indicated that it would not be moving its U.S. headquarters which is currently located in San Mateo, California.
The company’s founder, Jack Ma, has a fondness for Seattle because he first discovered the internet during a trip to the city. Alibaba leased space in offices in downtown Seattle and sent out feelers for openings in the Seattle office, thus, the belief that Ma would move his company to the Pacific Northwest.
Alibaba may still have offices in the area as does Facebook, Google, and other tech companies.
The Seattle office, which currently employs around 25 people, intends to be small and focused on data science and technology. The U.S. headquarters in San Mateo has about 80 employees, mainly in business development, marketing, human resources, and engineering. It also has a San Francisco office with 25 people in international corporate affairs, investor relations, and investments. The Alibaba strategy is set on helping American businesses access China. The company employs about 30,000 people worldwide.
Notably, the lease to the Seattle office expires at the end of the year. Bloomberg reported that Alibaba looked at subleasing almost 20,000 square feet in the City Center Bellevue tower in downtown Bellevue.
But with the belief that the company will not grow more than the current staff in the Seattle office, the Bellevue location would be far too big.
Regardless of where Alibaba sets up its United States headquarters, it’s clear that it will take advantage of the U.S. influence. Recently, it announced a partnership with Los Angeles Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant in which it will distribute Bryant’s documentary, “Muse,” as well as Kobe Bryant branded products.
The company completed a record $25 billion U.S. initial public offering in September.
The headquarters move would have been a boon for the region as it would have created a hub of opportunity in an already busy industry in the northwest.
Alibaba has declined to comment on its latest moves. (end)
Jason Cruz can be reached at email@example.com.