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Global Tech Security & Privacy

Rhetoric Eases, but Troubles Remain in Alibaba Piracy Spat

After reaching a fever pitch last week, rhetoric in the high-profile spat over piracy between e-commerce giant Alibaba and one of China’s main business regulators appears to be softening as the two sides move towards a compromise. The latest headlines say Alibaba and the State Administration For Industry And Commerce (SAIC) have joined hands to fight piracy, marking a sharp toning down of the angry rhetoric that was flying for much of last week.   More

Global Tech

Alibaba’s Ma Eyes New Partner in Apple’s Cook

The headlines are buzzing today with news about newly listed Alibaba, led by word that the e-commerce giant may explore an electronic payments tie-up with global gadget leader Apple. I’ll be quite frank and say that such a tie-up would seem destined for disaster, based on the previous experience between Alibaba and Yahoo, its only other major partner in a similar past tie-up.   More

Global Tech

Five of China’s Top Ten Richest Are Techies

The headlines are buzzing about the latest Hurun Report listing the richest people in China, which has a decidedly tech flavor this year that hints at trouble ahead for the overcharged Internet sector. The report has become a gold standard for gauging the latest business trends in China, but is also famous for focusing on industries that have become overheated. That’s not too surprising, since it’s often such overheating that leads to huge surges in company share prices, which are most often the main foundation for calculating individuals’ wealth. This year half of the top 10 richest men in China come from the tech sector.   More

Global Tech

How Tencent Uses WeChat to Target Alibaba

Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s worries about the rapid rise of mobile instant messaging service WeChat appear to be well founded, with word that Tencent’s wildly popular platform will create an exclusive shopping channel for Alibaba’s chief rival JD.com. This kind of deal must certainly be Ma’s biggest nightmare, as it will instantly link JD, China’s second largest e-commerce company, with the hundreds of millions of young Chinese who regularly use WeChat to communicate. What’s more, WeChat has shown itself quite capable of converting its users into shoppers who could easily become JD customers.   More

Global Tech

Chinese Moguls Place Actual Bets on New Economy

And now for a lighter look at an emerging trend in the China corporate world, which has seen some of the nation’s biggest tech personalities make high-profile bets with their equally successful peers from more traditional sectors. The latest in these high-tech wagers has seen Lei Jun, the charismatic founder of fast-growing smartphone maker Xiaomi, make a bet with Dong Mingzhu, often considered China’s most successful businesswoman as the chairman of appliance giant Gree. These bets are mostly for entertainment and publicity on the one hand; but they do also represent the very real challenge that traditional industries are feeling from e-commerce and other emerging high-tech business models.   More

Finance Global Tech

Alibaba-Yahoo: Still Some Love?

Alibaba may have lost its affection for Hong Kong’s securities regulator after an impasse over its IPO plans, but it appears to be moving in a happier direction these days with U.S. Internet giant Yahoo. That’s my assessment, following word that Yahoo will hold onto a larger share of China’s e-commerce leader than the two sides had previously agreed to last year when they reached a landmark deal to end their stormy 7-year-old marriage.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Alibaba Tamps Down Valuation Expectations

Having let the markets get pumped up with huge expectations for its upcoming mega IPO, e-commerce leader Alibaba now appears to be trying to temper some of those high hopes in the run-up to an offering that is likely to be the biggest ever for a Chinese Internet firm. The reason for the sudden change of tone? Apparently the company wants to avoid following in the footsteps of social networking giant Facebook, whose IPO was so overhyped by the time it finally occurred that it was almost bound to result in failure and major disappointment.   More

Business Opinion

Alibaba Dresses Up With New CEO

The Internet world is buzzing this week with word that Alibaba founder Jack Ma will hand over his CEO title to another company executive, ushering in a new generation of leadership for China's leading e-commerce firm. But this change looks largely superficial to me, and is most likely designed to please investors as the company gets set for its multibillion-dollar IPO that could happen later this year. Instead of chief executive officer, the title of chief administrative officer would probably be more appropriate for the role that Alibaba's incoming number-two man Jonathan Lu will play.   More