The genesis of the Alibaba Group, which you likely know simply as “Alibaba,” dates back to 1999 when English teacher Jack Ma created the B2B portal Alibaba.com, a platform to connect Chinese manufacturers with overseas buyers. Today, Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group is a publicly traded group of eCommerce businesses that raised US $25 billion with its IPO in September 2014. As the largest IPO ever, it gave Alibaba a market valuation post-IPO day valuation of of $231.4, topping valuations of American giants such as Walt Disney and Boeing and beating out eCommerce rivals such as Amazon and eBay.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma was at Davos last week, and in his public chat he said some pretty interesting things. But during his time there, he also sat down for an exclusive interview with Chinese website Sina Tech. In it, he waxed lyrical on everything from the symbolic nature of China’s internet sector to how he thinks China’s young entrepreneurs should view the world.
Chinese developer Dalian Wanda Group’s e-commerce unit is expected to begin operations later this year. The company is taking a different approach to competing with the industry leader Alibaba, reports Guangzhou’s Time Weekly. Following Wanda’s initial public offering in Hong Kong on Dec. 23, the largest in Asia in 2014, the property developer was once again in the news when its e-commerce unit received investments worth 1 billion yuan (US$161 million) from two investment funds on Jan. 4.
Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma returned to Davos today for the first time in years for a chat. Interviewed by CBS’s Charlie Rose, Ma – chatty and eminently quotable as ever – talked about his early days as an entrepreneur, the origins of Alibaba, and some more contemporary issues as well. Here are 15 of his best quotes:
Alibaba will prevent Chinese vendors from selling children’s products that are considered dangerous or illegal to American consumers. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has provided a list of up to 15 products which are considered illegal or have been recalled by manufacturers. Those products include baby seats and powerful magnets, and they are currently being sold on Alibaba to global buyers.
Alibaba Health Information Technology Limited, formerly known as CITIC 21CN Company Limited, has settled a legal dispute with Oracle. Alibaba Health will pay about CNY37.2 million to Oracle for a licensing agreement for database management software signed in 2006. Meanwhile, the company will be refunded a deposit of USD11 million plus USD1.2 million in interest as part of the settlement.
Riders of trains in China, rejoice! China’s state-run 12306 train ticket sales site, which has a total monopoly on online ticket sales despite being buggy and inefficient, has finally consented to team up with a competent ecommerce company (Alibaba). This is something I’ve been begging them to do for years, and now that it’s finally happened, all I can think is this:
SAN FRANCISCO/BEIJING/SHANGHAI: China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd plans a major move to win US business this year, by offering American retailers new ways to sell to China’s vast and growing middle class. Anchored by Alipay, the dominant Chinese electronic payments system that works closely with Alibaba and is controlled by its executives, the world’s largest Internet retailer is using the calling card of China’s consumers to attract US partners, two sources close to the company told Reuters.
Alibaba announced in a statement today it has bought a majority stake in AdChina, the country’s largest independent digital advertising technology platform. The investment sum was not disclosed. AdChina will now work closely with Alimama and Aliyun, Alibaba’s marketing and cloud computing units, respectively. Together they will developed an end-to-end marketing service, which Alibaba says will allow it to increase brand-building and sales integration now used by companies and merchants.
According to Korean newspaper Dong-A Ilbo (via Techweb), Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba is planning to invest US$460 million into the creation of an “Alibaba Town” facility in Incheon, Korea. Alibaba is reportedly working in collaboration with the Incheon City government, which will also put US$460 million into the facility if a space for it is found. But that could take some time: once it’s completed, the facility will be 1 million square meters in size.
Incheon Metropolitan City said Monday that it is in talks with China’s Alibaba Group to build a logistics center in the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IEFZ). “The city is in discussions with Alibaba to attract a sizable investment in the city. This project will help us cut our snowballing deficit,” a spokesman at the metropolitan city said. He said most of the investment will come from the Chinese company, with the city offering a huge tax benefit, administrative support and the rights to use needed properties almost free for the building.
There’s something fascinating about ranking the rich. Bloomberg refined it to an art, annually ranking the world’s Top 400 Billionaires – many of them household names and faces around the world; some excruciatingly low profile. Its latest ranking reflects the continued rise of Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma, the durability of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett (back in the top two spots again) and steady progress by the pride of South African entrepreneurship, Elon Musk. – AH
China’s government-run online train ticket sales site 12306 has been causing problems since pretty much the moment it was launched. It broke during its first Spring Festival rush back in 2011, and since then has been the source of a litany of complaints: not processing refunds, cheating customers, promising an app that didn’t materialize for years and then sucked when it finally showed up, breaking again, listing nonsensical departure/arrival times, being associated with corruption, facilitating ticket scalping, shutting down third-party services that fix its bugs, and more.
Recently, you may have seen the reports that Alibaba, China’s top ecommerce king, is interested in getting into the game console business. According to a VentureBeat report, rumors from what that site considers a reliable source suggest that Alibaba wants to make a video game console for the Chinese market. I have no idea whether or not these rumors are true. Alibaba has shown signs of getting into gaming, but China’s tech media has been pretty quiet on whether there might be a game console in the works.
Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, is the richest Asian in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. And Ma has been heading the list since 5 April, 2012. Ranked 19th, Jack Ma’s total assets have been declared as $28.7 billion at the time of reporting. With a gain of $62 million, the Alibaba founder is still heading the Asian billionaire count, while Indian businessman Mukesh Ambani is ranked 32nd with total declared assets of $21.3 billion.
Yesterday, Alibaba revealed its latest move towards the gaming space: a new social mobile gaming platform called KTplay. Created together with Beijing-based mobile game startup Yodo1, KTplay is a bit like a more robust version of Apple’s Game Center. But that’s not the only move Alibaba has made recently in the gaming space. In August, the company poured $120 million into American game developer Kabam, and it has also experimented with using its ecommerce sites as a platform for game distribution.
China Daily/Asia News Network– Shopping via mobile phones is fast becoming the main option for spending money in China, with transactions from the not-so-developed western region of the country being the driving force, a report said on Monday. The report, prepared by Alipay, the payment arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., said more than half of all online payment transactions were made with mobile phones so far this year.
Alibaba revealed today that it’s behind a new social gaming platform called KTplay, which has been in quiet beta for a few months. It’s currently running only in China, but it will later expand to gamers around the world. Alibaba has teamed up with Yodo1, a Beijing-based mobile game publishing startup, to create KTplay (pictured above).
China’s tech industry is far better-known, far more creative, and far more successful than it was ten years ago. But China is still often criticized as lacking innovation. Alibaba founder Jack Ma addressed China’s innovation gap head on in a speech on Monday and a convention in Shanghai, and put the blame on China’s education system, or at least one part of it.