Chinese e-commerce and technology giant Alibaba is recruiting for Seattle-based engineering jobs, signaling plans to open a new outpost in Amazon’s backyard in advance of Alibaba’s initial public offering.
Recent email messages from the Entrepreneurs & Experts in Seattle group, Alibaba’s strategic partner in the Seattle region, list a series of job openings for mobile engineering positions — offering prospective employees the ability to be based in the Seattle region or in Alibaba’s home region in Hangzhou, China.
A representative of the local group confirmed this morning that Alibaba is opening an office in the Seattle region, but declined to provide details because the company hasn’t yet officially announced the plans. It’s not clear if the office will be in Seattle proper or in one of the Eastside suburbs.
A spokeswoman for Alibaba declined to comment via email this morning.
The office could put Alibaba in a better position to recruit coveted engineers from Amazon, Microsoft and other technology companies in the region. Microsoft’s job cuts, announced yesterday, could also be a boon to Alibaba’s recruiting efforts.
The company — sometimes described as Amazon, PayPal and eBay combined — attracted an overflow crowd to an event in Bellevue, Wash., earlier this year.
In an interview with GeekWire at the time, Wang Jian, Alibaba’s chief technology officer and a Microsoft veteran, said it might make sense to have an office in the Seattle region, but he was only starting to think about the possibility.
“This trip has actually changed me a lot,” he said at the time. “I can feel the energy of all the small startups here. It’s much more energetic than what I saw (previously). It might be good to think about having an office here. This is in the north part of the coast, and San Francisco is in the south. Just like Beijing and Hangzhou.”
Alibaba has an existing engineering office in Silicon Valley, which was launched to support its AliCloud business and give the company a better perspective on the U.S. tech scene.