Is there any other way to interpret this ‘test’?
Alibaba’s core business is all about B2B commerce, especially China-based B2B commerce. Given how aggressive Google has recently been about shutting down businesses that are not core to its long-term strategy, it’s instructive to note that this project got greenlighted.
It’s perfectly within their MO, of course – build a basic version of a competitor’s core product, and make it free. Have they bit more than they can chew this time? Is this really just a test? Time will tell.