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Posts Tagged ‘Alibaba’

One company, two systems

Posted by hkarner - 1. Dezember 2019

Date: 28‑11‑2019

Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

Alibaba sets its sights on Amazon

Anyone who is cursed with a rational mind should ponder Alibaba’s faith in eight, the luckiest single digit in China. On November 26th China’s e‑commerce juggernaut sold HK$88bn ($11.2bn) of secondary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange under the stock symbol 9988—88 is not only a homonym for baba, but also signifies double luck. As soon as the gong was banged to launch trading, the shares soared from HK$176 to the auspicious price of HK$188. Luck was on Alibaba’s side. Nearby Pedder Street, where 19th‑century stockbrokers gathered to trade shares, has been a hotspot of anti‑China protests since early summer. On occasion, the smell of tear‑gas has wafted into the exchange. Yet after a landslide win for pro‑democracy parties in local elections earlier in the week, the chaos has—at least temporarily—subsided.

Luck aside, the listing provides the company with triple benefits. It wins brownie points with the Chinese government for demonstrating confidence in Hong Kong’s financial future amid the protests. It partially hedges its exposure to America, where it launched the biggest initial public offering of all time in 2014, but has recently suffered from trade‑war related turbulence. And it increases the accessibility of its shares to Asian institutional investors, who may be less inclined to view China through the prism of trade and geopolitical tensions. Soon it may be eligible for Stock Connect schemes that link Hong Kong with markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen, allowing mainland investors to pile in as well. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The trade war and finance

Posted by hkarner - 1. Juni 2019

Date: 30-05-2019
Source: The Economist

Alibaba’s experience shows how relations between America and China have soured

If you want to understand how cooling relations between America and China are changing global business, a good place to look is Alibaba, an internet giant. It is China’s most admired and valuable firm, worth a cool $400bn. For the past five years it has also been a hybrid that straddles the superpowers, because its shares are listed only in America. Now it is considering a $20bn flotation in Hong Kong, according to Bloomberg. The backdrop is a rising risk of American moves against Chinese interests and the growing clout of Hong Kong’s capital markets. A listing there would be a sign that Chinese firms are taking out insurance to lower their dependence on Western finance.

The world looked very different back in 2014, when Alibaba first went public. Although based in Hangzhou and with 91% of its sales in mainland China, it chose to list its shares in New York, home to the world’s deepest capital markets, which also permitted its complex voting structure. Wall Street banks underwrote the offering. Alibaba’s boss, Jack Ma, already a star in China, was toasted in Manhattan high society as the kind of freewheeling capitalist Americans could do business with. He was not alone: 174 other Chinese firms have their main listing in America today, with a total market value of $394bn, including tech stars like Baidu and jd.com. A recent notable arrival is Luckin Coffee, a Starbucks wannabe, which floated for $4bn in May. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How Big Tech Has Powered Global Stocks

Posted by hkarner - 12. März 2019

Date: 11-03-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Profits at Facebook, Alibaba and others are boosting stocks that got walloped last year

Alibaba Group is among the tech companies whose shares have risen more than 25% this year.

Booming profits are driving a fresh rally in technology shares from New York to Hong Kong, helping boost stock markets and showing the allure of rapidly growing companies even as the global growth outlook dims.

Companies including Facebook Inc., Netflix Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Rakuten Inc. have risen more than 25% this year, well outpacing the gains of the stock indexes on which they are listed. The advance is a marked turnaround from the final months of 2018, when tumbling technology shares wiped out trillions of dollars from the global stock market.

Fund managers have credited some of the advance to the group’s record of generating robust and, in many cases, record profits as broader earnings growth has cooled. Earnings are a key driver of stock prices, making industries delivering high growth like technology an appealing bet for investors who are worried about slowing growth across the global economy.

“Big tech is looking far more interesting now than it has any time over the past year,” said Jim Tierney, chief investment officer of U.S. concentrated growth at AllianceBernstein, which owns shares of Google parent Alphabet Inc., Facebook and Microsoft Corp. As the growth outlook becomes more murky, “if you can find companies that can grow a heck of a lot faster, they’re looking attractive,” Mr. Tierney said.

Stocks broadly have gotten a lift from the Federal Reserve’s pivot from signaling further rate increases to keeping rates on pause as it gauges a slowdown in the global economy, as well as easing trade tensions. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund slashed their forecasts for 2019 and 2020 growth in recent months, citing risks including weakening industrial production, a potential “no-deal” Brexit and cooling earnings growth. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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China’s Alibaba Takes On Amazon in European Cloud

Posted by hkarner - 6. Dezember 2018

Date: 05-12-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Competition shows how Chinese internet firms and Silicon Valley now view Europe as a battleground

Revenue at the business more than doubled to about $2.1 billion in fiscal 2018.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Amazon.com Inc. are squaring off in Europe—and not just in e-commerce but also in the quickly growing cloud-computing market.

The Chinese company’s competition with Amazon, the world’s biggest cloud-computing player, reflects how Europe is turning into a battleground between China’s tech giants and Silicon Valley.

“Europe is very strategic for us because a lot of European countries are quite advanced markets,” said Yeming Wang, who runs Alibaba’s European cloud business.

Cloud computing is an important growth engine for Alibaba and Amazon. Amazon Web Services is one of the U.S. company’s biggest profit drivers, while revenue at the Chinese company’s cloud business more than doubled to about $2.1 billion during fiscal 2018. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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As regulators circle, China’s fintech giants put the emphasis on tech

Posted by hkarner - 15. September 2018

Date: 13-09-2018
Source: The Economist

Conflict with banks has made them shift their focus

FOR those still trying to work out what exactly “fintech” involves, we are sorry to bring you this update from China, a world leader in mixing finance with technology.

Fintech is passé; the hot new thing is “techfin”. This ungainly portmanteau was coined by Jack Ma, the chairman of Alibaba, an e-commerce giant, who announced on September 10th that he plans to step down in a year’s time. It is not mere semantics, but indicative of the way that China’s fintech upstarts—firms that have excited investors, frightened banks and attracted legions of users—are adjusting as their reach is limited by regulators.

The landscape of Chinese fintech is dominated by two players: Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba, and Tencent, best known for WeChat, its social-media network. Ant is estimated to be worth $150bn, only a little less than HSBC, putting it among the world’s most valuable financial firms. Tencent’s financial services are wrapped inside Tencent Holdings, which has a $400bn market capitalisation. They will, if left unchecked, grow much bigger. China’s government must now decide whether to try to slow their rise. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Alibaba’s Jack Ma to Step Down as Executive Chairman

Posted by hkarner - 9. September 2018

Date: 08-09-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

The co-founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant plans to focus on his philanthropic efforts

Jack Ma plans to focus on philanthropy after stepping down as Alibaba’s executive chairman.

BEIJING—Jack Ma, the billionaire tycoon who rode the currents of China’s rising affluence to build one of the world’s biggest e-commerce companies, is planning a transition out of his role as executive chairman at Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to focus on philanthropy and other pursuits, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Mr. Ma is expected to disclose his plans, including a timeline for the transition, on Monday, when he turns 54, the person said. The person emphasized that Mr. Ma wants to ensure an orderly transition and plans to remain on the company’s board.

The New York Times earlier reported that Mr. Ma plans to step down Monday.

In his years at the helm of Alibaba, Mr. Ma emerged as China’s most famous business leader, known for his charisma and his candor, and a fluency in English honed by years of teaching the language and guiding American tourists along the shores of scenic West Lake in his hometown of Hangzhou.

“Jack overseas and at home is the most recognizable symbol of the China internet explosion and more broadly the China consumer boom,” said Duncan Clark, a business consultant in China and author of “Alibaba: The House that Jack Built.” “So you have an iconic figure associated with these two major forces, who plans to relinquish his executive functions.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Jack Ma’s Giant Financial Startup Is Shaking the Chinese Banking System

Posted by hkarner - 31. Juli 2018

Date: 30-07-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Ant Financial is transforming how Chinese run their daily finances, drawing flak from big banks and warning shots from the government

It handled more payments last year than Mastercard , controls the world’s largest money-market fund and has made loans to tens of millions of people. Its online payments platform completed more than $8 trillion of transactions last year—the equivalent of more than twice Germany’s gross domestic product.

Ant Financial Services Group, founded by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, has become the world’s biggest financial-technology firm, driving innovations that let people use their phones for buying insurance as easily as groceries, enabling millions to go weeks at a time without using physical cash.

That success is also putting a target on the company’s back. China, even more than the U.S., is now under pressure to reckon with the disruptive power of a financial-technology giant.

China’s banks complain Ant siphons away their deposits, causing them to pay higher interest rates, and is a factor leading them to close branches and ATMs. One commentator at a state-owned television channel described Ant’s huge money-market fund as “a vampire sucking blood from banks.”

Ant Financial was founded by Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba.

Chinese authorities, clearly increasingly uncomfortable about Ant’s scale, have started to put limits on the activities it can pursue. Earlier this year, China’s central bank undermined a years-long effort by Ant to build a national credit-scoring system. The bank effectively prevented Ant’s system from being used by institutions making loans. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Tech firms are suddenly the corporate world’s biggest investors

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juli 2018

Date: 27-07-2018
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

Apple’s new headquarters has created 13,000 new construction jobs

A COMMON way to describe the history of the technology industry is by product cycles. The 1990s was the era of the PC; then came the internet and related services, followed by mobile; and now artificial intelligence looms. But there is a different way to think about tech: it is switching from an era of hoarding profits to one of reinvestment. Take a crude yardstick of spending: the physical footprint of the five most valuable American tech firms. A decade ago if you added up all the land they occupied, you got to an area one and a half times the size of Central Park. Now an ongoing splurge means they use ten times more space, or 600m square feet (55m square metres), roughly the size of all of Manhattan. This shift to redeploying profits is seismic.

Amazon accounts for two-fifths of that space—the equivalent to anything south of Grand Central. Way back in 1998, its boss, Jeff Bezos, had a different message, telling his shareholders that its business model was “cash-favoured and capital efficient”. The capital-light approach was in vogue in China, too, until recently. At the end of last year Alibaba’s market value was similar to the total for China’s biggest 700 industrial firms, yet it had 12% of their assets. Investors loved tech firms’ ability to crank out huge profits with tiny balance-sheets, but economists were alarmed by it. Two years ago Lawrence Summers fretted that tech might depress overall investment. Digital disrupters would sap incumbent firms’ confidence to invest while spending little themselves. This was part of a wider malaise he called “secular stagnation”. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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US-Digitalkonzerne sind wertvollste Unternehmen der Welt

Posted by hkarner - 29. Juni 2018

29. Juni 2018, 10:53 derstandard.at

Apple ist das teuerste Unternehmen, Alibaba und Tencent sind unter den Top 10

Frankfurt – Die US-Giganten Apple, Amazon und Co dominieren einer Studie zufolge die Weltbörsen. Erstmals finden sich unter den teuersten sechs Unternehmen weltweit ausschließlich Digitalkonzerne, wie aus einer am Freitag veröffentlichten Analyse des Beratungs- und Prüfungsunternehmens EY hervorgeht. Angeführt wird das Ranking Ende Juni erneut vom iPhone-Hersteller Apple mit einem Marktwert von 905 Milliarden Dollar (781 Milliarden Euro, Stichtag 27. Juni). Mit zwei Ausnahmen dominieren US-Konzerne die Liste der Top 10. Deutsche Konzerne landen auf den hinteren Rängen der Top 100, österreichische Unternehmen scheinen nicht auf. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Godfathers of Chinese Tech Get an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Posted by hkarner - 9. März 2018

Date: 08-03-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Tech tycoons may like government talk about innovation but they don’t love more state control

Jack Ma, executive chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., characterizes his relationship with the Chinese government as “fall in love but don’t marry.”

That’s generally the view of China’s tech leaders, nearly all of whom hail from modest backgrounds and, like most Chinese, would prefer to avoid government attention, favorable or otherwise.

This week’s annual sessions of the national legislature and an affiliated advisory body look like a celebratory union between the government and big tech.

With the notable exception of Alibaba’s Mr. Ma, all China’s tech leaders are in attendance: social media and game giant Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Pony Ma, e-commerce company JD.com Inc.’s Richard Liu, smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp.’s Lei Jun, search engine Baidu Inc.’s Robin Li and Sequoia Capital’s China head Neil Shen. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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