China’s Alibaba signs digital distribution deal with music rights group BMG

ChinaBEIJING: Germany’s BMG music rights company said on Monday it had signed a music digital distribution deal with China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, as the world’s largest e-commerce firm firms up its bid to become a digital media empire. The deal, one of the first in China made by a major music publisher rather than a label, will bring more than 2.5 million copyrights to Alibaba, whose music platforms already had many of the songs from artists including Kylie Minogue, the Rolling Stones and Jean-Michael Jarre, an Alibaba spokeswoman said.

IDST: Alibaba’s most secretive department

ChinaChinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has recently launched a competition that challenges young contestants’ capability to apply big data to some of the company’s current business areas. The winning team will be awarded 1 million yuan (US$160,000) and career opportunities. Behind the initiative, dubbed “Tianchi” or Heaven Lake, is the Institute of Data Science and Technologies (IDST), led by the company’s vice president Jack Tu, a former Silicon Valley IT expert and the author of The Big Data Revolution.

Alibaba, and foray into rural China market

ChinaCainiao Network, Alibaba’s subsidiary providing logistics services, announced its logistics data on Cuntao, Alibaba’s e-commerce site for villages in rural regions, saying that 13% of Cuntao orders can be delivered on the day they were ordered or the next day, reports Shanghai’s National Business Daily. Since being established in May 2013, Cainiao Network has built up a network that covers 7,600 county-level internet areas, 26,000 town-level internet areas and 190,000 village-level areas, according to Wan Lin, vice CEO of Cainiao Network.

Watch Alibaba’s Jack Ma demonstrate face recognition-enabled payments

China.gifYesterday at Cebit in Hanover, Alibaba founder Jack Ma took the stage to wax philosophical on entrepreneurship and the future of technology. While he oozed charisma on stage, the real treat came at the end of his address. After noting how online payments can sometimes be troublesome, the founder took out his smartphone and paid for a set of stamps on Alibaba using face-recognition technology.

Amazon to enter mainland market through cooperation with Alibaba

China.gifIf you can’t beat them, join them. That’s what U.S. e-commerce company Amazon must have thought when it decided to set up a virtual storefront on competitor Alibaba Group Holding’s Tmall website. It is no secret that Amazon has struggled to expand its business in the world’s second-biggest economy, as Chinese consumers continue to make most of the online purchases through local e-marketplace channels like Tmall and Taobao.

China’s Alibaba shows off pay-with-your-face technology at German IT fair

China.gifHANOVER: China’s Internet tycoon Jack Ma, founder of giant online merchant Alibaba, gave a glimpse of the future when he demonstrated a new e-payment system using facial recognition at the CeBIT IT fair in Germany. Criss-crossing the stage in the style of a Silicon Valley pioneer late on Sunday (Mar 15), Ma showed off the technology that uses facial recognition from a smartphone camera selfie as a digital signature, saying he had just used it to send a gift to the mayor of the event’s host city of Hanover.

In an unexpected move, Tencent opens e-store on Alibaba’s Tmall

China.gifIf you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em? That might be the case for Tencent when it comes to ecommerce. Despite a long-standing rivalry with Alibaba, the company has set up shop on Tmall, Alibaba’s online department store. As Techweb reports, the store contains a selection of Tencent or QQ-branded hardware, including a glucometer, a wifi dongle, a robot that can “chat” and play music, a bluetooth speaker set for kids, and a pairable projector and remote-control pen.

REPORT: Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is investing $200 million in Snapchat at $15 billion valuation

China.gifChinese e-commerce giant Alibaba plans to invest $200 million in Snapchat at $15 billion valuation, sources tell Bloomberg. This funding would be in addition to, not part of, the $500 million funding round Snapchat was reportedly in talks about last month, sources tell Bloomberg’s Serena Saitto. That round had Snapchat valued at $19 billion, instead of $15 billion.  This isn’t the first time Alibaba’s name has come up in funding talks. Saitto reported that the two companies were in discussions about a round at a $10 billion valuation back in July.

China’s Aliyun American Data Center Highlights Double Standards

China.gifAlibaba’s cloud computing service Aliyun announced that its data center in Silicon Valley has started trial operation and is providing cloud services to users in North America and around the world. This is reportedly Aliyun’s sixth data center, following those opened in Hangzhou, Qingdao, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shenzhen. It also means that Aliyun will start competing with Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure in the cradle of cloud computing.

Snapdeal drums up custom in Slumdog’s Dharavi

IndiaFor viewers of Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire”, Mumbai’s vast Dharavi slum is a byword for poverty, but to online retailer it is a battleground for new customers and, it hopes, a source of better margins.  The company’s aspirations are backed up by serious investment from the likes of Japan’s Softbank Corp, which ploughed $627 million into Snapdeal last October, and could soon get a boost from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, which is in talks for another cash investment, a source told Reuters on Wednesday.

Alibaba invests $200M in Snapchat

China.gifAlibaba’s spending spree continues! The Chinese ecommerce behemoth has just given American chat startup Snapchat a US$200 million cash infusion, a source familiar with the deal told Tech in Asia. This latest investment values the American company at around US$15 billion. Neither company has officially announced the investment yet.

Alibaba hiring in Amazon, Microsoft backyard as US cloud unit expands

China.gifBEIJING: China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the world’s largest e-commerce firm, has begun hunting staff in Seattle, home turf of Inc and Microsoft Corp, focusing on savvy cloud computing hires as it ramps up U.S. operations. Three positions were open to people in Seattle, two of which also allow applications for Alibaba’s Silicon Valley offices, according to advertisements on LinkedIn Corp’s business networking site in the past week.

Snapdeal, Alibaba in talks for $1 billion funding: Sources

IndiaSHANGHAI/MUMBAI: Alibaba is in talks with Indian online marketplace Snapdeal over a potential cash investment, a source familiar with the negotiations said, in what would be the Chinese e-commerce giant’s first direct investment in India.  Snapdeal competes in India with bigger rivals and, and media reports have said it is seeking $1 billion in its latest funding round to fuel growth.  In October last year, Snapdeal secured a $627 million investment from Japan’s Softbank, itself an early backer of Alibaba.

All eyes on Alibaba as China proposes tighter regulations on ecommerce sites

ChinaChina’s market regulator said today that the government will regulate ecommerce more strictly in an upcoming clampdown on counterfeit products and poor customer service. The comments came from Zhang Mao, minister of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), speaking on the sidelines of China’s annual parliamentary session, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Quixey CEO Tomer Kagan on the company’s close relationship with Alibaba

On Friday, China.gifwhile Asia was sleeping, Mountain View-based startup Quixey announced it closed a US$60 million funding round led by Alibaba, with participation from Softbank, Goldman Sachs, GGV Capital, and others. Re/code first reported the then-upcoming round back in February, so Quixey’s announcement marks the company’s official confirmation.

Amazon to sell to China on Alibaba platform

ChinaSHANGHAI–U.S. online retail giant Amazon has set up shop on the business-to-consumer platform of Alibaba as it seeks a greater presence in the massive Chinese market. The Seattle-based firm is offering food, women’s footwear, toys and kitchenware through its store on which was “quietly” launched on Thursday, Chinese media reported. Amazon’s storefront carries the message: “It’s Day 1.” Amazon and Alibaba are considered competitors in some areas but unlike the U.S. firm the Chinese company has no product stocks of its own, simply providing a trading platform.

Chinese Internet Giants Eyeing Silicon Valley Data Centers

ChinaEarlier this week, Alibaba subsidiary Aliyun announced it was opening a data center in Santa Clara, California, as the first step in expanding the giant’s reach into the U.S. cloud services market. Alibaba isn’t the only Chinese internet company looking to gain data center foothold in Silicon Valley. Other heavyweights, including Tencent and Baidu, have been shopping for data center space in the Valley in recent months, Jeff West, director of data center research at the commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, said.

Alibaba Subsidiary to Open Cloud Data Center in Silicon Valley

ChinaAlibaba‘s cloud services arm Aliyun is preparing to open its first overseas cloud data center in Silicon Valley. The Chinese tech giant is making a global push, with the data center a first important step. The data center in Santa Clara, California, announced Wednesday, will provide a variety of cloud computing services. It will initially focus on Chinese companies based in the U.S., with the plan to gradually expand services and products to international clients later this year.

Amazon sucks it up in China, opens a store on Alibaba’s marketplace

ChinaHere’s the weirdest China ecommerce news so far this year – and possibly all year: Amazon just opened up a store on Alibaba’s marketplace, Tmall. The shop (pictured above), which is currently selling a limited selection of what the Amazon China store offers, like food, women’s shoes, and children’s wear, is at (hat-tip to the Wall Street Journal for spotting this).

Foxconn-Alibaba alliance grows

TaiwanTAIPEI – The Foxconn Technology Group, constantly searching for opportunities other than assembling Apple gadgets, is joining hands with China’s Alibaba Group in e-commerce and cloud-computing ventures. Terry Gou, chairman of the Taiwanese contract manufacturer, has been aggressively branching into other sectors, including telecommunications and robots, as his empire grapples with tight margins from churning out iPhones.