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   Technology StocksAlibaba Group Holding Limited

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From: Julius Wong8/8/2021 9:58:04 AM
2 Recommendations   of 794
China Targets the Robotaxi Industry

Friendly regulatory environment bolsters efforts by 70 companies, including Baidu, Alibaba

An Apollo Robotaxi runs at Shougang Park as Baidu launches China's first driverless taxi service in the city on May 2, 2021 in Beijing, China.

He Luqi/Qianlong/Getty Images

Chinese tech giant Baidu opened a 2.5-acre test track and operations base for autonomous vehicles last week, its third such site in the country and its latest move to dominate the "robotaxi" industry.

China's self-driving vehicle market is moving faster than that of the United States thanks to government regulatory support. In the past year, Baidu and AV competitor AutoX, backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba, have announced a series of steps in the race toward what promises to be a massive market.

Swiss bank UBS estimates that by 2030, the global robotaxi market will be worth at least $2 trillion annually, with robotaxi fleet purchases accounting for 12% of all new cars sold.

In April last year, Baidu began offering free robotaxi trips in Changsha within a pre-defined area, followed by Cangzhou and Beijing. Then, in December, AutoX launched a trial of driverless robotaxis in the southern city of Shenzhen and opened that service to the public in January this year. In May, Baidu started commercial robotaxi service within a 1.2 square-mile zone in western Beijing and last month opened a pilot program to the public covering a 60-square-mile district in the southern city of Guangzhou.

The Shanghai operations center will serve as a base for Baidu's Apollo brand robotaxis, robobuses and other types of autonomous vehicles in the region. The base will collect data and calibrate connected vehicles and act as a remote control center.

"Our base will serve as an intelligent connectivity ecosystem and expand to over 200 operating vehicles to become the largest autonomous driving fleet in East China," said a Baidu spokesperson.

AutoX opened a robotaxi operations center in Shanghai last year, and has been offering limited robotaxi service to the public in Shanghai for more than a year. The company's robotaxi service in Shenzhen, meanwhile, operates without a safety driver or operator in the car. "This is still the only fully driverless RoboTaxi operation in China until today," said Jewel Z. Li, AutoX's chief operating officer.

This is still the only fully driverless RoboTaxi operation in China until today.

Since Beijing approved self-driving car tests on designated public roads more than three years ago, dozens of cities have awarded pilot program permits to more than 70 companies.

Chinese regulators began allowing limited robotaxi trials June 2019 and this January, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released a draft policy permitting AV testing on highways with a goal of opening the robotaxi market by 2025.

Baidu has announced plans to deploy 3,000 robotaxis in 30 Chinese cities by the end of 2023. AutoX and WeRide, which is backed by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, have similarly ambitious goals.

Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing company that has recently faced Chinese regulatory troubles, also operates a fleet of autonomous vehicles.

China is pursuing other self-driving vehicle applications, including autonomous heavy trucks. Baidu is working on a robotic excavator system with the University of Maryland, integrating perception, planning, and control capabilities to enable material loading with no human intervention. The excavation system has been deployed in real-world scenarios, operating continuously for over 24 hours at a time.

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From: quantinvestor8/9/2021 12:49:12 PM
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Chinese government will regulate everything why would anyone buy here?

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To: quantinvestor who wrote (775)8/18/2021 5:15:15 AM
From: Glenn Petersen
1 Recommendation   of 794
Alibaba’s U.S. Shares Fall to Lowest Since 2019 as China Cracks Down

Several tech stocks decline after authorities in Beijing release a new round of proposed regulations

By Hardika Singh
Wall Street Journal
Aug. 17, 2021 6:46 pm ET

A new round of proposed regulations sent Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA -4.91% ’s U.S. listing to decline 4.9% on Tuesday to $173.73, its lowest close since October 2019.

The Chinese tech company’s American depository receipts have fallen more than 25% so far this year.

New draft guidelines released Tuesday by China’s top market regulator aim to prevent internet companies from adopting forced exclusivity and blocking competitors’ links and apps.

The guidelines are the latest in a series of moves by Chinese regulators affecting tech companies, fueling share price declines, even as U.S. indexes have risen to records. In addition, Chinese businesses face added pressure from Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler, who has said the agency would require additional disclosures from Chinese companies before allowing them to sell shares.

Some of the most active bets tied to Alibaba shares were bearish put options that were tied to the share price plunging even further. Among the most popular options tied to Alibaba were put contracts pegged to the shares hitting $170, according to Cboe Global Markets data. Put options allow a trader to sell shares at a specific price, later in time.

The ADRs of Tencent Holdings Ltd. fell 4.1% on Tuesday to $55.15, the lowest level in more than a year.

Invesco’s Golden Dragon China exchange-traded fund, which has a third of its portfolio invested in mostly Chinese internet and direct marketing companies, fell 2.4% on Tuesday to $41.87, extending its decline year to date to 34%.

Another factor pressuring U.S.-listed Chinese businesses is Afghanistan, said George Ball, chairman at the investment firm Sanders Morris Harris. He said traders worry that China’s potential growing influence might empower the Chinese government to enact even more stringent regulations.

“The American inability to deal with the threats in Afghanistan is making traders think that China is going to be all the more stronger,” Mr. Ball said.

—Gunjan Banerji contributed to this article.

Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the August 18, 2021, print edition as 'Alibaba’s U.S. Shares Lose Ground.'

Alibaba’s U.S. Shares Fall to Lowest Since 2019 as China Cracks Down - WSJ

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From: Sr K8/21/2021 2:49:09 PM
1 Recommendation   of 794
Jack Ma’s Costliest Business Lesson: China Has Only One Leader

The billionaire entrepreneur matched the heights of America’s tech legends but failed to heed warnings that Chinese leader Xi Jinping still called the shots

Jack Ma in 2018 at an international investment conference in Johannesburg.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Keith Zhai
Lingling Wei
Jing Yang

Aug. 20, 2021 11:33 am ET

Brainy and ambitious, Jack Ma built one of China’s largest business empires from scratch, creating billions of dollars in wealth and introducing digital innovations to hundreds of millions of people. He wasn’t China’s Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk or Bill Gates. He was their peer.

Now he has disappeared almost entirely from public view, in part because of the same go-for-broke drive he shared with the other 21st century tech titans.

Technological disruption, once seen as a useful prod for China to catch up with the West, has been recast as a threat to the ruling Communist Party. As a result, Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader in decades, is rewriting the rules of business for the world’s second-largest economy.

Mr. Ma failed to keep pace with Beijing’s shifting views and lost an appreciation for the risks of falling out of step, according to people who know him. He tuned out warnings for years, they said. He behaved too much like an American entrepreneur.

Mr. Ma’s exit from the world stage followed a typically frank speech in October, when he criticized Chinese regulators for stifling financial innovation. Mr. Xi personally intervened days later to block the record $34 billion-plus initial public offering of Ant Group, Mr. Ma’s financial-tech company. Since then, Ant has been forced to restructure its business, leaving the company’s employees and investors in limbo.


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From: Julius Wong8/22/2021 5:57:15 PM
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At Friday close, BABA was $157.96

The BABA Technologies Trades: Below is a look at the notable alerts, courtesy of Benzinga Pro:

At 6:24 p.m., a trader executed a block trade above ask of 1.6 million Alibaba shares at $160.98 per piece. The trade represented a $257.56 million bullish bet.

At 6:28 p.m., a trader executed a block trade above ask of 2.2 million Alibaba shares at $160.98 per piece. The trade represented a $354.15 million bullish bet.

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From: Glenn Petersen8/23/2021 7:19:15 PM
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BABA is already listed on the NYSE, so the following is probably not applicable to the company. It is, however, indicative of the added regulatory scrutiny being given to the listings of Chinese companies.

EXCLUSIVE SEC gives Chinese companies new requirements for U.S. IPO disclosures

By Echo Wang

Aug 23 (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has started to issue new disclosure requirements to Chinese companies seeking to list in New York as part of a push to boost investor awareness of the risks involved, according to a document reviewed by Reuters and people familiar with the matter.

Some Chinese companies have now started to receive detailed instructions from the SEC about greater disclosure of their use of offshore vehicles known as variable interest entities (VIEs) for IPOs; implications for investors and the risk that Chinese authorities will interfere with company operations.

Last month, SEC Chair Gary Gensler asked for a "pause" in U.S. initial public offerings (IPOs) of Chinese companies and sought more transparency about these issues. Chinese listings in the United States came to a standstill after the SEC freeze. In the first seven months of 2020, such listings reached a record $12.8 billion, as Chinese companies capitalized on the soaring U.S. stock market.

"Please describe how this type of corporate structure may affect investors and the value of their investment, including how and why the contractual arrangements may be less effective than direct ownership, and that the company may incur substantial costs to enforce the terms of the arrangements," said one SEC letter seen by Reuters.

The SEC has also asked Chinese companies for a disclosure that "investors may never directly hold equity interests in the Chinese operating company," according to the letter. Many Chinese VIEs are incorporated in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands. Gensler has said there are too many questions about how money flows through these entities.

"Refrain from using terms such as 'we' or 'our' when describing activities or functions of a VIE," the letter stated.

An SEC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The SEC has also provided disclosure requirements pertaining to the risk of Chinese regulators intervening with company data security policies, the sources said. Last month, just days after the blockbuster IPO of Didi Global Inc (DIDI.N), Chinese regulators banned the ride-sharing giant from signing up new users. This move was followed by crackdowns on technology and private education companies.

The SEC has also asked some companies for more details in cases where they do not comply with the U.S. Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act on accounting disclosures to regulators. China has so far prevented companies from sharing the work of their auditors with the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. Last month, the SEC removed the chairman of the board, which has been unsuccessful in its push to ensure independent auditing of U.S.-listed Chinese companies.

The SEC's move represents the latest salvo by U.S. regulators against corporate China, which for years has frustrated Wall Street with its reluctance to submit to U.S. auditing standards and improve the governance of companies held closely by founders.

The SEC is also under pressure to finalize rules on the delisting of Chinese companies that do not comply with U.S. auditing requirements.

Reporting by Echo Wang in New York Editing by Greg Roumeliotis and David Gregorio

EXCLUSIVE SEC gives Chinese companies new requirements for U.S. IPO disclosures | Reuters

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To: Julius Wong who wrote (778)8/24/2021 4:19:35 AM
From: Glenn Petersen
1 Recommendation   of 794
Smart money.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (780)8/30/2021 12:54:38 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 794
Alibaba squeezed by crackdown as and Pinduoduo pounce

Regulatory scrutiny and scandals put e-commerce leader on the ropes

NAOKI MATSUDA, Nikkei staff writer
August 28, 2021 10:01 JST's e-commerce business has boomed, though rising costs in its logistics business dragged down overall earnings. © Reuters

Alibaba squeezed by crackdown as and Pinduoduo pounce - Nikkei AsiaSHANGHAI -- China's crackdown on Big Tech has shifted the balance in the country's e-commerce market, with and Pinduoduo continuing to thrive while industry leader Alibaba Group Holding bears the brunt of the damage, earnings releases show.
While all three companies face the same regulatory environment, Alibaba has come under particularly heavy pressure over its business practices -- to the direct benefit of its rivals, especially JD.

JD Retail CEO Xu Lei seemed to take a jab at Alibaba in JD's earnings call Monday. The new rules aim to "regulate misconduct such as disorderly capital expansion [and] monopolistic contacts" and "create a fair and orderly business environment and to promote long-term and sustainable development," goals that are "conducive to JD's long-term business growth," he said.

JD's revenue jumped 26% on the year last quarter. Its overall sales exceed Alibaba's, though Alibaba has triple the transaction volume because of differing business models. Operating profit in JD's retail segment grew 23%.

Perhaps the biggest reason was the government's squeeze on Alibaba.

Regulators in April slapped Alibaba with a record fine topping 18.2 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) for violating antitrust law, finding that the behemoth had for years pressured merchants that sold on its platform not to do business with such competitors as JD.

Without these constraints, Alibaba-monopolized brands like Starbucks and luxury conglomerate LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton's portfolio were free to set up shop on JD, which reported 531 million users at the end of June -- up nearly 30% from a year earlier.

Leveraging the WeChat messaging app to expand its user base, Pinduoduo posted its first quarterly net profit since listing on Nasdaq in 2018. © Reuters
Also benefiting from the shifting landscape is Pinduoduo, which on Tuesday reported a 2.4 billion yuan net profit for the three months through June to enjoy its first quarter in the black since listing on Nasdaq in 2018.

Pinduoduo is the latest entrant into what has only recently become the big three in China's e-commerce sector. Alibaba had ruled the roost until 2019, with JD working to catch up. But last year, the 5-year-old Pinduoduo became large enough to emerge as a threat.

Pinduoduo made good use of the WeChat messaging app from major shareholder Tencent Holdings to market affordable products in smaller cities and rural areas. Its user base has grown explosively in recent years, swelling 24% in the year through June to nearly 850 million -- larger than Alibaba's.

The company had been investing heavily in expanding its customer base through big sales events, with profitability as an afterthought. As it starts turning to recouping this spending, it could become an even bigger force.

Revenue nearly doubled on the year last quarter, and according to an insider, the move into the black came as a surprise to market players. Pinduoduo shares jumped 22% on Nasdaq on Tuesday.

Despite their current strength, some uncertainty surrounds the outlook for JD and Pinduoduo.

While JD's mainstay e-commerce business enjoyed strong growth, overall net profit sank 95% on the year as such other areas as logistics weighed heavily on earnings. The company complied with regulators' demands to improve drivers' compensation, pushing up costs for pay and benefits and pushing the business into the red.

Pinduoduo CEO Chen Lei acknowledged when asked on Tuesday's call that the regulatory changes could have some impact, including on merchant demand for advertising tools.

But Alibaba is in the toughest position. Its operating profit sank 11% on the year last quarter, and new compliance challenges are still emerging.

In an unusual internal message to staffers on Aug. 8, CEO Daniel Zhang said he was "shocked, furious and ashamed" over allegations that a male employee had sexually assaulted a female subordinate.

Another message on Aug. 12, this time from the company, announced steps to prevent such incidents in the future, such as setting up an internal reporting system. But Alibaba was lambasted in Chinese media for days over its delays in dealing with the matter.

A different sort of governance problem came to light Monday with the news that an Alibaba Cloud employee had allegedly leaked personal customer data. Authorities in the company's home province of Zhejiang have launched an investigation.

Alibaba remains more profitable than the competition for now. But change can be quick in the Chinese e-commerce industry, and a misstep in its response to these tribulations could leave JD and Pinduoduo hot on its heels.

Alibaba squeezed by crackdown as and Pinduoduo pounce - Nikkei Asia

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (781)9/2/2021 12:32:03 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 794
Alibaba Pledges $15.5 Billion as Chinese Companies Extol Beijing’s ‘Common Prosperity’ Push

Tencent and others also rush to support government initiative to bolster social equality in China

By Frances Yoon
Wall Street Journal
Updated Sept. 2, 2021 9:51 am ET

Alibaba is the latest big company in China to express support for the common prosperity campaign driven by President Xi Jinping. PHOTO: TINGSHU WANG/REUTERS

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. vowed to spend the equivalent of $15.5 billion fostering social equality, becoming the latest in a series of big Chinese companies to take up Beijing’s drive for what it calls “common prosperity.”

Businesses and individual entrepreneurs are in some cases pledging billions of dollars to good causes, and companies have quickly adopted the newly popular slogan, as they seek to stay on the right side of President Xi Jinping’s government amid a series of corporate crackdowns.

Alibaba said Thursday it would spend 100 billion yuan, the equivalent of $15.48 billion, by 2025 in support of Beijing’s common prosperity campaign, confirming a report in the Zhejiang News, an outlet run by the provincial branch of the Communist Party.

The report listed a series of uses for the money, including funding for technological innovation, supporting economic growth and agricultural modernization in less developed regions, and bridging the digital divide between urban and rural areas. Alibaba will also support young entrepreneurs and gig-economy workers, and help disadvantaged sectors of society, the Zhejiang News said.

President Xi Jinping has used the common prosperity initiative to reflect China’s heightened focus on social equality and economic development. PHOTO: SHEN HONG/XINHUA/ZUMA PRESS

A fifth of the money would help develop Alibaba’s home province of Zhejiang, the local news media outlet said. The ruling Communist Party’s top leadership designated the eastern province as a showcase locality for common prosperity in May.

Alibaba’s pledge is substantial, even for a company of its heft. The e-commerce giant had a market value of about $461 billion as of Wednesday, according to FactSet. Analysts polled by the data provider expect it to generate about $143 billion in revenue in the financial year ending March 2022.

Common prosperity isn’t a new term, but has taken on greater significance recently. It was used by Mr. Xi at a major meeting on financial and economic affairs last month, reflecting his government’s heightened focus on social equality.

That focus helps explain recent clampdowns on powerful technology companies such as Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd., the gaming and social-media giant, as well as on other businesses seen as contributing to social divides.

A day after Mr. Xi’s comments, Tencent said it would spend the equivalent of $7.7 billion promoting common prosperity this year, by investing in matters such as medical care, education and revitalizing rural areas. It had pledged an investment of equivalent size in April. Tencent was valued at $596 billion as of Wednesday’s market close, according to FactSet.

Businesses in a range of sectors also have jumped on the bandwagon. Companies that have mentioned common prosperity in recent earnings reports include state-owned banking giant Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., property developer Logan Group Co., and Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China.

“It makes sense for every company in China to align themselves” with the common prosperity push, said Elizabeth Kwik, Asian equities investment manager for Aberdeen Standard Investments.

She added, “But it doesn’t mean the government is placing society over earnings or shareholders—they just want companies to play a part and help achieve fair distribution of income.”

China’s newer tech companies are also getting with the program.

Without using the term common prosperity, on Aug. 24 Pinduoduo Inc., a fast-growing rival to Alibaba, said it would earmark the equivalent of $1.55 billion in profit from the second and subsequent quarters to help farmers and rural areas, with an initiative focused on agricultural technology.

Businesses in a range of sectors in China are getting behind the cause of sharing wealth and pledging investment in underdeveloped areas. PHOTO: QILAI SHEN/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Food-delivery giant Meituan has also stressed its adherence to the cause. “We will never stop creating greater value for all the participants in our ecosystem and promoting ‘common prosperity’ for the larger society,” the company said in financial results published Aug. 30.

Meituan Chairman Wang Xing, who has personally donated shares worth billions of dollars to a charitable foundation, said his group would live up to higher expectations from government and society, help create more jobs and work to achieve carbon neutrality.

In time, the drive to share wealth more widely could lift the cost of doing business over and above any one-off donations, analysts and economists say.

For example, companies are likely to lift wages, which will lower their profits, said Carlos Casanova, a senior economist for Asia at Union Bancaire Privée. By next year, Mr. Casanova said he expects more clarity on how the government will pursue common prosperity, making it easier to understand which sectors will benefit from or be hurt by the reform.

Companies could be asked to contribute in the form of paying higher taxes or making greater charitable donations, said Ben Luk, senior multi-asset strategist at State Street Global Markets.

Some executives say their core business is already contributing to the wider good. Entrepreneur Guo Guangchang, the co-chairman of conglomerate Fosun International Ltd., told investors recently that common prosperity was “our core value.”

Growing Fosun’s business would aid common prosperity by benefiting staff, customers, investors and partners, he said, while its Fosun Foundation was involved in social and charity initiatives.

—Raffaele Huang contributed to this article.

Write to Frances Yoon at

Alibaba Pledges $15.5 Billion as Chinese Companies Extol Beijing’s ‘Common Prosperity’ Push - WSJ

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From: Glenn Petersen9/13/2021 9:40:54 AM
1 Recommendation   of 794
Alibaba slides on report China plans to break up payment app

Published5 hours ago

Shares in Chinese technology giant Alibaba have fallen sharply after a report that its financial affiliate Ant Group is again under scrutiny.

Regulators want to break up Alipay, which is China's biggest payments app with more than a billion users, according to the Financial Times.

A separate platform for the app's profitable lending operation would be created under the plan.

It would be the latest move by Beijing to tighten its grip on big businesses.

Ant could also be forced to hand over the user data that underpins its loans decisions to a new credit scoring firm, which would be partly state-owned, the report said.

Alibaba shares closed 4.2% lower in Hong Kong trade on Monday.

Ant Group did not immediately respond to a request for information from the BBC.

This would not be the first time that Ant Group has been targeted by the Chinese government.

The business empire of Jack Ma, the co-founder of both Ant Group and Alibaba, has been hit by a series of high-profile regulatory measures.

Chinese authorities started to show increasing interest in Ant Group in October last year after Mr Ma criticised regulators, suggesting that they were stifling innovation.

The following month, regulators scuppered the record $37bn (£27bn) share market launch of Ant Group.

In April, Alibaba was hit with a record $2.8bn fine over monopoly concerns.

At the same time, Chinese regulators called on Ant to conduct a sweeping business overhaul, including restructuring itself into a financial holding firm.

It was also told to fold its two micro-loan services, Jiebei and Huabei, into the new finance firm.

Ant will not be the only Chinese online lender to be affected by the new rules, the FT report said.

In recent months, Chinese regulators have been targeting other internet giants in a wide-ranging crackdown which has included competition and privacy issues, as well as user data and cryptocurrencies.

Alibaba slides on report China plans to break up payment app - BBC News

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