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From: Investor Clouseau5/23/2017 4:17:40 PM
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this from Barron's; Alibaba Group Holding (BABA:NYSE) By MKM Partners ($123.22, May 22, 2017) We view Alibaba Group Holding as one of the best secular growth stories among internet large-caps with multiple avenues of upside. The China retail business is significantly undermonetized but already extremely profitable, enabling heavy investments to nurturing an expansive ecosystem.

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From: Julius Wong5/24/2017 8:52:16 AM
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7 Reasons Alibaba Bulls Beat Bears, MKM Says
Alibaba's growth story remains intact, MKM Group says, listing 7 positives and 5 negatives after the latest earnings report.

barrons.com

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From: Glenn Petersen5/25/2017 11:30:45 PM
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Alibaba to Lead $1 Billion Funding for Chinese Food Startup

by Lulu Yilun Chen
@luluyilun
Bloomberg
May 25, 2017

-- Ele.me said to be valued at $5.5 billion to $6 billion

-- The Chinese food delivery service competes with Meituan

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and its financial services affiliate plan to lead an investment round of at least $1 billion in Ele.me, one of the largest players in a crowded Chinese food-delivery service arena, people familiar with the matter say.

The financing from Alibaba and Ant Financial will value Ele.me at $5.5 billion to $6 billion and help it compete with a rival service backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private.

Once completed, the deal would mark the country’s second-largest startup fundraising effort so far in 2017, surpassed only by ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing’s $5.5 billion round. Alibaba is vying for supremacy with the Tencent-backed startup, Meituan Dianping, in a local services industry primed for growth as people turn to their smartphones or the web to order food, schedule beauty treatments and hire domestic helpers. Sales of such services are expected to reach 7.28 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) this year.

The funding for Ele.me underscores how venture-capital flow in China remains resilient despite the nation’s economic slowdown: startup investments surged 40 percent to $6 billion in the first quarter, CB Insights estimates.

While meal-delivery businesses around the world have struggled for profits, China’s two largest Internet companies see on-demand services as a way to promote their lucrative online payments services. Growth in domestic food and restaurant transactions also outstrips many other retail segments in the world’s second largest economy. Alibaba is already the biggest shareholder of Ele.me, which it uses to complement a separate service called Koubei that provides restaurant bookings and spa treatments.

Now, Tencent too intends to ramp up investment to catch its rival. It currently holds only a minor stake in Ele.me after a $1.25 billion fundraising from Alibaba and Ant Financial in April 2016 diluted its holdings. The company, valued at about $4.5 billion at the time, had discussed a merger with Meituan -- one of Tencent’s largest investments in the market -- but talks fell apart, people familiar with the matter have said.

Tencent is now “putting up quite a big initiative around the restaurant vertical” to propel WeChat Pay, President Martin Lau told analysts on a post-earnings conference call in May. It had lost market share in restaurants but is “putting aside a pretty good budget to get back on the competition front.”

Guo Guangdong, a spokesman for Ele.me, and Alibaba declined to comment. Ant Financial didn’t respond to a request for comment.

bloomberg.com

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From: Intelim5/28/2017 4:37:32 PM
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Why Alibaba's Founder Jack Ma Thinks You Will Eventually Only Work Four Hours a Day

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From: Glenn Petersen6/5/2017 11:53:42 AM
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What Spat Between 2 of China’s Richest Men Means for Alibaba and SF Express

By Daniel Shane
Barron's
June 4, 2017 10:23 p.m. ET

What does a falling out between two of China’s richest men mean for investors in Alibaba ( BABA) and SF Express ( 002352.CN)?

Bloomberg reported late last week that Alibaba founder, and the Middle Kingdom’s richest businessman, Jack Ma had gone toe-to-toe with logistics billionaire Wang Wei over a dispute surrounding data sharing. SF Express is a major logistics partner of ecommerce giant Alibaba, and its services are used to deliver goods ordered online the length and breadth of China’s vast expanses.

However, the dispute relates to Cainiao Network, a vast data platform and Alibaba affiliate that at its core connects Alibaba merchants with delivery companies. The two are arguing about how much data each gets access to via the platform. This data is seen as vital as it provides crucial insights into the online shopping habits of Chinese consumers. Alibaba requested more data from SF Express which was declined. In retaliation, Alibaba removed SF Express as a delivery option from its site. Alibaba owns by far the biggest stake in Cainiao Network, but a number of logistics companies including SF Express are also small investors.

Smartkarma analyst Daniel Hellberg says the falling out reflects the changing nature of the relationship between Alibaba and its logistics partners. This is partly down to an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission into Cainaio Network’s accounting first announced last year.

This could eventually result in BABA being forced to consolidate CN's financial results; this threat is likely pushing CN to speed up its march to profitability.
This could mean that Cainaio Network needs to find better ways to monetize its data trove, Hellberg reckons:

CN has made it clear that it wishes to better monetize the massive amounts of data it collects on merchants, customers, and their shipping habits. CN could begin charging transportation service providers (like the express companies) a small fee for using CN-controlled data to optimize routes and plan for seasonal changes in demand. Payments would be based on the volume of data (or parcels) handled.
In terms of what this means for specific stocks, any move to push Cainaio Network into profitability quicker could be good news for earnings at Alibaba. Getting logistics companies to pony up for more data access will be bad news for them:

Whether the express companies end up paying higher fees to CN, or shouldering a greater portion of CN's capex needs, we believe the changes we have outlined will ultimately result in lower returns for the express companies. The changes should also reduce losses at CN, and that in turn should aid BABA's profitability, though the impact of these changes may not be noticeable given BABA's immense scale.
Alibaba shares are up 40% year-to-date. Shares in SF Express's holding company are up 30%.

barrons.com

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From: Krigannie6/8/2017 6:21:05 AM
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Alibaba forecasts monster revenue growth
seekingalpha.com

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From: Sr K6/8/2017 8:31:36 AM
1 Recommendation   of 524
 
on briefing.com:

6:56 am Alibaba: At investor day guides FY18 revenue +45-49% - Barrons ( BABA) :

Shares of Alibaba are trading up 11% in pre-market trading at $139.57/share.

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From: Glenn Petersen6/13/2017 11:44:25 PM
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h/t Sr K

10:14 am Yahoo! completes sale of its operating business to Verizon ( VZ) for $4,475,800,000, subject to certain pre-closing and post-closing adjustments as provided in the underlying definitive stock purchase agreement ( YHOO) :
  • Following the sale, the Company's remaining assets consist of an approximately 15% equity stake in Alibaba Group Holding Limited; an approximately 36% equity stake in Yahoo Japan Corporation; cash, cash equivalents and marketable debt securities; certain minority investments; and Excalibur IP, LLC, which owns certain patent assets that were not core to Yahoo's operating business. Its retained liabilities include the Company's 0.00% convertible senior notes due 2018; shareholder litigation; and certain liabilities relating to data breaches incurred by Yahoo.
  • The Company's headquarters have been relocated to New York City.The Company's common stock will continue to trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol "YHOO" through June 16, 2017. Beginning on June 19, 2017, shares of common stock of Altaba Inc. will begin trading under the ticker symbol "AABA".
  • As previously announced, on June 16, 2017, the Company will change its name to "Altaba Inc."

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From: Glenn Petersen6/14/2017 12:16:55 PM
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At Alibaba's annual investor day, China's richest man outlined a vision where the company he founded could become the world's fifth-biggest economy by 2036, trailing only the U.S., China, Europe and Japan. Let's just say most entrepreneurs in China wouldn't make that comparison.

Jack Ma's Libertarian Talk Approaches Red Line

Is Alibaba's founder playing with fire or toeing the line?

by Lulu Yilun Chen
Bloomberg
June 14, 2017



Jack Ma, billionaire and chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., gestures as he speaks during a panel session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017.
Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg
____________________________

Corporate executives sometime like to talk about how their companies are overtaking nation states. In China, they tend to be careful not to outshine the government and avoid such analogies. Yet that's just what Jack Ma did last week.

At Alibaba's annual investor day, China's richest man outlined a vision where the company he founded could become the world's fifth-biggest economy by 2036, trailing only the U.S., China, Europe and Japan. Let's just say most entrepreneurs in China wouldn't make that comparison.

"Well, people say, this is too big," Ma said of the scale of Alibaba's ambition. "It costs nothing to imagine, right?"

Many shrugged the comments off as bluster from a man prone to making grand pronouncements. Ma based his prediction on the number of goods transacted on his platforms and the potential number of customers. And Alibaba's $23.5 billion in revenue last year was still dwarfed by Alphabet's $90 billion and Amazon’s $136 billion. In Ma's own words, the Chinese e-commerce giant is still just "a baby."

Yet in Hangzhou, in front of thousands of global investors, Ma planted the flag and claimed that his company would one day become one of the world's most powerful economies by serving 2 billion people and helping 10 million small businesses trade freely on the web. On the face of it, the declaration encapsulates the libertarian dream of empowering individuals and transcending borders. Ma has spent years cultivating an image of a rebel fighting the system, knocking down walls protecting state-owned enterprises and becoming a billionaire in the process.

Yet on closer examination, it's clear that none of Ma's rhetoric ignored the groundwork that has already been laid out by Beijing, whether it's China expanding its footprint in Africa, exploring the ocean frontier in Southeast Asia, or revitalizing the once-famous Silk Road. When Xi Jinping was in Davos talking up global trade, Ma was quick to call (again) for his web-based version of the World Trade Organization. When China touted its One Belt, One Road project, Ma was quick to tout Alibaba's expansion in those regions. If anything, he's China's shadow diplomat, flying more than 870 hours and visiting 40 countries last year to meet with prime ministers and other leaders.

Ma's dabbling in international affairs is rooted in the goal of amassing billions of customers by 2036. By his own calculation, China will only be able to provide 40 percent of that market, the rest will have to be found overseas. Following China's Belt-Road project, setting up global trade platforms, even his promise to President Donald Trump to create a million jobs in the U.S. is all part of that plan. Indeed, Ma heads to Detroit next week to bring that message.

If anything, Jack Ma is a master in the dark arts of influence and international affairs. That probably makes him more of a savvy politician than a libertarian icon.

bloomberg.com

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From: Glenn Petersen6/19/2017 8:32:30 PM
   of 524
 
Jack Ma Woos Mom and Pop Shops in U.S. Jobs Push

Detroit conference aims to fulfill pledge to Trump to create one million jobs in America

by Selina Wang
Bloomberg
June 19, 2017

Sam Wolf moved his family's health and wellness business online more than a decade ago. The Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based company runs its own warehouse and sells thousands of nutrition products in dozens of countries through its own website as well as on Amazon.com Inc. and EBay Inc. But all that know-how didn't quite prepare Wolf for the experience of selling into China through Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s online stores.

Most small U.S. companies don't have the brand awareness in China to stand out among the millions of goods on Alibaba's websites, let alone the expertise that's required to take a product from a U.S. warehouse to a Chinese consumer's doorstep, cutting through the red tape to gain access to an otherwise inaccessible market. Alibaba is the virtual mall that houses the brands, but sellers are in charge of production and distribution with little clarity on the demand for their wares.

"If you want to get rich quick selling into China, this is not the way to do it,' said Wolf, who started LuckyVitamin's online store in 2005. ``There's investment up front and inherent risk. This is not just like selling products on Amazon and EBay where you just sign up and list."

Still, entrepreneurs like Wolf are the sellers Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma wants to woo when he arrives in Detroit this week for his company's Gateway conference. The two-day event is drawing thousands of U.S. business owners, from farmers to managers of more established brands, to learn how to succeed in China through Alibaba. For Ma, it's following through on a promise he made to U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this year to create one million jobs in the U.S.



Jack Ma and Donald Trump on Jan. 9, 2017.
Photographer: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
________________________________

While Ma's offer was seen as good diplomacy after Trump's tough campaign talk on trade and tariffs with China, it wasn't purely altruistic. Ma has big ambitions. He sees Alibaba turning itself into one of the world's most powerful economies by serving 2 billion people and helping 10 million small businesses trade on the web. By his own calculation, Ma says China will only be able to provide 40 percent of that market. The rest will have to be found overseas.

That's what brings China's richest man to America's heartland. The event will feature speeches from Ma himself and his executive team, as well as United Parcel Service Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Abney, Martha Stewart, and panels with small U.S. businesses like Wolf's that are already selling on one of Alibaba’s virtual malls. Alibaba offers sellers the opportunity to reach the almost half-a-billion shoppers on its sites, but the path to those consumers is full of hurdles, from the language barrier to differences in understanding the Chinese buyer.

Alibaba already has hundreds of thousands of U.S.-based companies registered on Alibaba.com, a business-to-business platform primarily used for sourcing, and more than 7,000 brands across its online stores including Tmall Global, where companies sell directly to consumers. Taobao Global is another Alibaba virtual store, where more niche international brands can list online. LuckyVitamin started offering its products on Tmall during Alibaba's annual one-day shopping blow-out, called Singles' Day, last November. LuckyVitamin got just one order that day.

Since then, LuckyVitamin's sales from China have grown in line with some of its other newer markets, though China is still a small portion of overall sales. Wolf describes working with Alibaba as starting a whole new business, rather than just tacking on a new sales channel. The company has had to enlist the help of various third parties to deal with translation, regulation, logistics. In addition to paying those partners, there's significant setup work and transaction fees that LuckyVitamin has to pay, according to Wolf.

The Gateway conference, the first that Alibaba says it plans to host annually, is meant to make the daunting task of selling through Alibaba easier for small businesses. The event will walk sellers through the process and connect them with partners like international trade specialists and logistics experts.

Persuading companies like LuckyVitamin to sign on could help Ma fulfill his employment pledge to Trump. On a conference call with journalists last month, Ma noted that Alibaba has created more than 33 million direct and indirect jobs for China, so he's confident he can create 1 million positions in the U.S. over the next five years.

Wolf says that LuckyVitamin, which currently has about 200 employees, has added about half a dozen workers since starting to sell on Tmall. It's impossible to say how much of that growth is attributed to Alibaba, Wolf says, since as overall sales have been increasing domestically and in more than 30 countries, it's unavoidable that the company would hire more people for customer service and in its distribution centers to pack and ship inventory.

"Would I say that this has created more jobs?" Wolf asks. "We've definitely created jobs but I can't exactly say because of what.' Still, Wolf does concede that selling in China is ``absolutely driving the business and sales."

Baozun Inc. is one of the many companies that help international brands like Burberry and Calvin Klein sell online to Chinese consumers. Backed by Alibaba, Baozun takes care of the process for companies from start to finish, including website design, customer service, technology infrastructure, warehousing and delivery, and marketing. Though publicly traded Baozun mostly works with large multinational brands, it's hoping to attract more boutique sellers as a result of Alibaba's push in the U.S.

"The obstacle here is complexity; It's very hard to understand" the process of selling into China through Alibaba, said Baozun CEO Vincent Qiu. "It's very challenging for a small-, medium-sized enterprise to do it themselves. There's a lot of knowledge and experience that's lacking."

Qiu says that the trickiest part about working with smaller companies is developing brand awareness among Chinese shoppers. Niche brands on Tmall won't get much traffic unless Baozun does heavy content marketing on their behalf, he said.

Christopher Tang, a professor at University of California at Los Angeles's Anderson School of Management, is skeptical that there is even enough demand for small U.S. brands in China. Aside from fresh produce that Chinese consumers are increasingly buying overseas for more variety and higher quality -- like Pacific Northwest cherries, Washington State apples, and Alaskan seafood -- Tang says shoppers have access to enough products online.

"The market for goods is already saturated,' Tang said. ``If you try to introduce brands in China from America that aren't well-known, I don't think Chinese consumers are going to be excited about it.'

bloomberg.com

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