Exploring the Secrets of Alibaba’s Successful MUA Strategy

Alibaba Group Holding Limited is a Chinese multinational conglomerate holding company specializing in e-commerce, retail, and technology. It’s the world’s largest retailer and e-commerce company. Alibaba’s start dates back to 1999 when Jack Ma founded the company in Hangzhou, China. From its beginnings as an online marketplace, Alibaba has grown into a global powerhouse.

Alibaba has a unique approach to their digital marketing strategy, particularly with their MUA or Mobile User Acquisition strategy. This strategy has played a huge part in Alibaba’s growth and success. In this article, we will explore the secrets of Alibaba’s successful MUA strategy.

What is MUA Strategy?

Mobile User Acquisition (MUA) refers to the process of acquiring new mobile customers through ads or in-app purchases. Alibaba’s MUA strategy is the marketing strategy the company uses to attract new customers to its mobile app. Alibaba’s mobile app, AliExpress, is a platform for users to buy products from China directly.

The MUA strategy has proven to be an effective way to acquire new customers because of its ability to reach a broader audience. Alibaba uses various methods to acquire new mobile users actively. Three of the strategies they use are listed below:

1. Collaborating With Influencers

Alibaba partners with influencers or celebrities from all around the world to promote its products, mobile apps, and services. These collaborations are designed to tap into the influencer’s existing audience, driving more users to the app. Alibaba has partnered with different celebrities, including David Beckham, Victoria Beckham, Katy Perry, and over 15,000 key opinion leaders (KOLs) in China. In 2020, Alibaba partnered with seventy influencers in the US and the UK to promote its Black Friday deals.

The collaboration with David Beckham is reported to have increased sales on Alibaba’s app AliExpress by 600% leading to a significant revenue jump, indicating the importance of the influencer industry in the digital world today.

2. Using Social Media to Attract New Users

One of the most important growth geographies for Alibaba is Southeast Asia, where social media is a primary source of information and entertainment. Virtual events, online shopping festivals, and promotions through social media channels are some of the methods that Alibaba uses to increase its reach and capture new users.

Alibaba employs an aggressive social media marketing strategy, primarily on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. The company uses social media platforms to engage with potential customers, discuss product offerings, and promote their mobile apps. They also use paid social media advertising to acquire new users on these platforms.

3. Offering Discounts and Promotions

Offering discounts and promotions is a common strategy that Alibaba uses to attract new users to its mobile app. Discounts and promotions are known to be effective in convincing customers to download an app or make a purchase.

Alipay, Alibaba’s payment platform, offers traditional cashback and ongoing cashback offers for new and existing users. The company also offers a “friendly refund policy” that offers refunds for purchases that are not delivered correctly. This promotion offers a unique brand value proposition to customers, boosting brand loyalty.

Key Features of Alibaba’s MUA App

Alibaba’s MUA app, AliExpress, offers unique features that set it apart from other mobile apps in the e-commerce space. In this section, we will outline the key features of AliExpress that make it successful.

1. Cross-Border Shopping Experience

AliExpress’ cross-border shopping experience makes it unique. The app offers its customers access to millions of products from around the world. The cross-border shopping experience also includes translations in several languages, enabling users to shop from their comfort zone while they explore products from abroad.

2. Personalized Recommendations

Alibaba customizes product recommendations to each user. The app algorithm shows a different selection of products based on the user’s browsing history, which helps retain customer engagement on the app.

3. Multi-Platform Accessibility

Users can access AliExpress seamlessly from any device, personal computer, or mobile phone application. This flexibility allows users to shop willingly from diverse locations and devices, making it convenient to acquire and retain customers.

4. Multiple Payment Options

Alibaba offers diverse payment options to its customers. Alipay, a payment app owned by Alibaba, offers different payment methods, including credit and debit cards, money transfers, and bill payments.


Alibaba’s success in e-commerce growth can be attributed to its successful MUA strategy, use of social media and collaboration with influencers. The company’s innovative use of technology, cross-border shopping experience, personalized recommendations, multi-platform accessibility, and diverse payment options make AliExpress, its mobile app, one of the most powerful e-commerce platforms globally.

Alibaba’s MUA strategy, coupled with the unique features of its mobile app, creates a robust value proposition that attracts and retains users. AliExpress continues to grow, with Alibaba expanding its reach globally, underscoring the importance of a robust MUA strategy that resonates with consumers.

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