Last night was Chinese New Year’s Eve, when the lunar new year festivities kicked off with family reunions, big dinners, fireworks, and red envelopes stuffed with cash. That last tradition is increasingly shifting online in China. Alibaba just revealed that users of its Alipay Wallet app sent a grand total of RMB 4 billion in cash, which is US$642 million, to their friends and family members during the 24-hour period of Chinese New Year’s Eve.
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Silicon Valley is underestimating the distance to which the Chinese government is willing to go boost its global expansion, said PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel in Taipei recently. Thiel was asked to assess whether Jack Ma’s (馬雲) e-commerce platform Alibaba Group, the face of China’s entrepreneurship success story, can be a game-changer overseas.
SAN FRANCISCO: Alibaba Group said on Friday it was asked by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for information about its dealings with a Chinese regulator, coming just five months after the company’s stock market debut. The SEC’s request follows an unusually public fracas between Alibaba and China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce, or Saic, over the issue of fake products being sold on the company’s websites and a series of related lawsuits filed in the United States.
In a shock move, China’s two biggest taxi-hailing apps, Kuaidi Dache and Didi Dache, earlier today announced their merger. It’s surprising not only because the new company will have an almost total monopoly on the market, but also because it’s a very rare instance of a partnership between Alibaba and Tencent, two of China’s three biggest web giants.
BEIJING — Internet tycoon Jack Ma has said his employees will not receive traditional Chinese New Year gifts because 2014 had not been “exceptional” for the company, despite its world-beating IPO listing on Wall Street. Chinese bosses ordinarily hand out “hong bao” — red envelopes filled with cash — to staff ahead of the week-long holiday to wish them luck for the year ahead.
Singapore Airlines has taken tablet computing to new heights. The cabin crew of the world’s best airline is now using a tablet-based mobile application to deliver more personalised customer service. The application, called TCS CrewCollab Solution, jointly developed through a collaboration project by SIA and Tata Consultancy Services, enables the automation and streamlining of in-flight processes.
Alibaba Group Holding chairman Jack Ma met with Chinese regulators to explain his goals in the financial industry, the latest meeting with authorities after a government “white paper” accused the e-commerce company of allowing counterfeit product sales. The online shopping portal which raised $25 billion in an initial public offering last year “definitely isn’t too big to fail,” Ma told officials of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, according to a transcript of the meeting posted on Sina.com.
Alibaba announced today that AliExpress, the company’s global-facing ecommerce site, has localized for better service in Indonesia. While id.aliexpress.com has been active for some time (Tech in Asia spotted it back in October), today marks its official coming out party in the eyes of the company.
China’s ecommerce titan Alibaba started the week by announcing a US$590 million investment in phone maker Meizu. It gives Alibaba a “minority” but undisclosed stake in the smartphone company. Alibaba says it and Meizu will “collaborate at both strategic and business levels” in areas such as “ecommerce, mobile internet, mobile operating system, and data analysis.” In addition, Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao estores, which collectively have 334 million active shoppers, will play host to Meizu’s online stores.
Ant Financial, the affiliate group of Alibaba that oversees its third-party payment service Alipay, has invested in India’s One97, the parent company of third-party payment service Paytm, Bloomberg reports. The size of the investment has not been disclosed, but Ant Financial will take a 25 percent stake in the New Delhi-based firm.
Alibaba’s ongoing kerfuffle with the government over (among other things) the presence of fake/counterfeit products on its ecommerce platforms just won’t seem to end. But the latest twist is a speech Alibaba founder Jack Ma gave in Hong Kong, recorded in the Beijing Times, in which he says they’re not fakes at all.
Alibaba is now in the testing phases of delivering packages by drone, according to a post on Taobao’s website (h/t 36kr). Bringing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ dream into reality, Alibaba’s major online marketplace Taobao has partnered with Shanghai YTO Express to run a test program from February 4 to 6.
As China’s massive Spring Festival holiday approaches, the folks at Tencent WeChat have been busy pressing the delete key on links between their app and a number of Alibaba services. First, Sina Tech reported that WeChat had shut down a sharing like with Alibaba’s Alipay that allowed Alipay users to send digital Spring Festival red envelopes of money to WeChat friends. Now, it appears WeChat has also shut down sharing connections with Alibaba music apps Xiami and Tiantian Dongting, meaning users can no longer share content from those apps directly with their WeChat friends.
Over the weekend Alibaba announced it will launch an HK$1 billion (about US$128 million) not-for-profit foundation to support Hong Kong startups. The organization, which will be known as the Alibaba Hong Kong Young Entrepreneurs Foundation, will be Alibaba’s first entrepreneur-support initiative exclusively for Hong Kong, according to the company.
Alibaba and its executives may feel the sting of American jurisprudence as law firms line up for possible class action lawsuits in the United States against the Chinese e-commerce company. At least five law firms so far have expressed intentions to commence class actions against Alibaba. For example, a complain from Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP charges Alibaba and certain of its officers and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
Alibaba has invested US$10 million in California-based game company Ouya, according to the Wall Street Journal. Ouya originally created an open-source, Android-compatible game console that struggled to sell after a high-profile Kickstarter campaign in 2012. Ultimately, the company pivoted from hardware into primarily selling its library of games on streaming video devices.
The head of China’s commerce regulator met with Alibaba Group Holding chairman Jack Ma to discuss combating fake products, the official Xinhua news agency reported, with the two adopting a conciliatory tone after a row over illegal business on the internet company’s platforms. The meeting took place the same day the regulator, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), backtracked on an earlier report that had excoriated the Chinese online commerce company for not doing enough to suppress counterfeiting on its websites.
BEIJING — Alibaba founder Jack Ma has met with the head of a powerful Chinese regulator, days after authorities accused the e-commerce giant of allowing “illegal” actions on its multibillion-dollar online shopping platform. The meeting Friday between Ma and State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) director Zhang Mao may signal a de-escalation of the dispute, which saw the regulator deliver an unprecedented public dressing-down of the prominent Chinese firm.
Alibaba is reportedly investing US$10 million into microconsole maker Ouya after the latter had a rather unfavorable 2014 and showed no signs of large growth in this year. Ouya was a highly successful Kickstarter that raised US$8 million in 2012 with the promise of a microconsole running games on Android. The end results were a bit less exciting, to say the least, with the console receiving poor reviews and faring badly against Sony and Microsoft.
Alibaba Group is facing harsh criticism from the Chinese government over sales of fake goods on its e-commerce sites. The country’s State. Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) issued the report as a way to urge Alibaba to clean up its act. According to the government regulator, Alibaba faces a “crisis” of credibility, after failing to address the alleged offenses, which revolve around the company’s online retail sites Tmall.com and Taobao Marketplace.