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Alibaba Upsets Tiffany & Co

Alibaba brand, Alibaba coalition

Tiffany & Co has withdrawn its membership in IACC and left its board after Alibaba became its member.

 

Alibaba Group Holding Limited is not being trusted by many brands. Tiffany & Co is the recent well-known brand to leave the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition after the group admitted the Chinese E-commerce company as its member in the last month. The US luxury jeweller emailed to IACCi it was quitting the board as well as withdrawing its membership from the Coalition.

The letter, reviewed by the American publication The Wall Street Journal, did not mention a reason behind the departure. In the previous 3 weeks,  Michael Kors as well as Gucci have also withdrew their membership from the famous group, with Michael Kors stating  the online retailer’s admission  “cover to our most dangerous and damaging adversary” in times when a large number of brands are thinking to file litigations regarding fakes on the sites of Alibaba.

Some brands have been angered by the admission of the Hangzhou based organization to the non-profit group, which consists of 250 members, stating they were doubtful that the company would pledge to battle with fakes on its well-known shopping websites. The web retailer refused to comment on the departure of Tiffany & Co, which did not immediately gave a response to requests for sharing views. The Coalition did not directly respond to the resignation by the jewelery company.

The group stated earlier its board members– including the New York based organization- unanimously voted to admit the online trading platform operator as one of the members and that it “stands by its decision” because the help of online marketplaces must be sought to fight against counterfeits online. The departure of the jewelery retailer on the same day IACC and Alibaba announced their plans to get rid of fakes more rapidly from the sites of the Hangzhou based organization.

Now, the anti-counterfeiting program will be open to every brand, free of charge. Ealier, the program was just open to the coalition members, and charged a lot of money on an annual basis. Alibaba stated only by collaborating with industry and brands market places can make “serious progress” on the international counterfeiting issue. Since it introduced its anti-counterfeiting program with the Coalition a couple of years ago, Jack Ma’s company has shut down over 180,000 breaching product listings, it stated.

Some huge brands have stated, though these figures pale compared to the number of shops and listings they removed on the sites of the organization during the same period of time.  Tiffany & Co has departed at a time when Dutch news has reported that Alibaba aims to establish its office in Amsterdam, Holland. The E-commerce platform operator has stated it wants to become the gateway to China for Holland, the AD reported.

It isn’t known up till now where the new office will be set up or how many persons it will hire the publication states. The company already has offices in Britain, France, Germany and Italy.

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Posted by on May 13, 2016 in Ali Baba, Technology

 

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Tencent Finally Slows Down In Heated War Against Alibaba

Alibaba payment, Alibaba competition

The online retailer is battling with Tencent at a time when the state has forced both of them to shut down their storage and sharing services

Chinese social networking and online gaming service provider Tencent has pulled out of a high-stakes war with Alibaba Group Holding Limited to control the mobile payments market of China, after paying billions of renminbi on subsidies to attract users. In April 2016, the organization started charging users to transfer money between conventional bank accounts and WeChat Pay, which is a payment facility linked to the Shenzhen based organization’s famous instant messaging application.

Earlier, the social media company subsidized the money transfers through the absorption of the related bank transaction charges instead of transferring them to users. A WeChat wallet feature also permitted transfers between various commercial banks. In January only, Tencent paid $46 million (Rmb300 million) on bank transaction charges, the gaming service provider disclosed in its yearly report.

For the last quarter, “other” revenue expenses grew by 153% to $0.23 billion, a rise it stated was “mainly driven” by bank transaction charges accrued by wallet feature. Chairman of Tencent Pony Ma stated that in March when the organization started to impose user charges, operating losses made by WeChat Pay were “brought under control”. The shift tells us about that a partial de-escalation of Tencent’s market share war with Alipay, the payment facility provided by the financial affiliate of Alibaba Ant Financial.

Rivalry between the organizations intensified when the lunar year started in the last year, when both invested billions of “red envelope” cash discounts to attract new users. An initial duel between the internet companies over vehicle-hailing applications started with a battle of subsidies for drivers and riders but ended when the Alibaba backed Kuaidi and Tencent’s Didi.

The launch of user charge is purely not a cost-saving move. Analysts state imposing withdrawal charges will make funds stored in the wallet “stickier”. The subsidies of Tencent helped WeChat lure many years and added to the transaction volume in 12 months that saw that online-to-offline mobile payments exploded to merchants like restaurants and supermarkets.

By market share, Tencent cannot show money it paid. Caifutong, which is its payment partner, process one-fifth of Chinese third party E-payments in 2015, compared with 48% of Alipay, revealed iResearch. That is up just by half a percent point from 2014.

According to South China Morning Post, the Huangzhou based company is struggling as it has recently said it will suspend its storage services entirely. Similarly, Weiyun and Dongguan-based “115” have stated in the previous month respectively that both of them will switch off a number of their sharing functions. The state run campaign against illegal publications and pornography has led to the shutdown of the facilities.

Guangdong 115 Technology’s CEO and founder Lai Linfeng has stated “It is impossible for us to see the uploaded content and it costs enormous resources to censor them when those files are shared, ”The state didn’t demand 115 to close down its functions but ordered it to rule out unlawful content and be self-disciplined, revealed Lai.

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Ali Baba, Technology

 

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Alibaba AI Surprises Many In Singing Competition

Alibaba intelligence, Alibaba song

The artificial intelligence system of Alibaba surprised many people by correctly predicting the winner of a singing competition

Forget that artificial intelligence can only be used for playing board games. Alibaba used artificial intelligence (AI) to find out who will win the famous Chinese reality television singing competition – and got finalists and winner all correct.

On the night of April 8, 2016, the Chinese e-commerce company’s cloud computation division, Alibaba Cloud or Aliyun — used its AI program “Ai”, during the Hunan TV’s 4-hour finale “I Am A Singer.”

The program was used to select winners as the audience of half a thousand of people who provided their services as judges deliberated upon independently. During the finale, predictions made by Ai were featured live.

The TV show is a domestic adaption of the South Korean show “I Am A Singer” and has continued to be amongst the famous Chinese TV shows since it was launched 3 years. Singers on the Chinese show are often experienced professional singers.

Chinese-US singer Coco Lee was declared the winner, singing a Chinese version of “A Love Before Time,” an Oscar-nominated song from the 2000 movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” During the performance given on April 8, 2016, Coco was dressed up in the same gown as when she sang the song at the Oscar Awards ceremony 15 years ago.

The Ai team of Alibaba had been striving to train the highly advanced AI program, with its latest effort push after it test launched  Ai on April 1, 2016 during the earlier “I Am a Singer” episode, stated Aliyun’s director of the Big Data Incubator, Min Wanlin.

During the test, Ai predicted the topmost first and second slots in the correct manner, but was unable to assume the third runner-up. While Alibaba has internally used Ai to help serve customers and predict traffic conditions, the show marked the disclosure of Ai first time in public.

The tech program used factors like a song’s popularity, the energy and pitch of a singer, the content lyrics as well as the feedback given by audience to assess the performances given by 7 finalists. It then continues “learning” what resonates with the people around it and gives an answer.

On Chinese Weibo microblogs, a large number of users discussed the prediction made by Ai, comparing it to Google’s AlphaGo and appreciated the latest advancements in AI. A person wrote, “Maybe we should let Alpha Go and Ai play chess sometime.” Others said they believed the prediction made by Ai was forged and that the results of the singing competition results were already decided prior to the show.

Dr. Min Wianlin’s team has continued to work on AI for four years. Moving forward, Dr. Min told Aliyun intends to provide on-demand AI facilities. The company is presently working on various AI ventures.

It could be said that if Alibaba continues to develop AI successfully, it can serve its customers in a better manner at a time when consumer led growth is witnessed in China.

 

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2016 in Ali Baba, Technology

 

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Alibaba Integrates Tmall-Operated Business In Healthcare Division

Alibaba Integrates Tmall-Operated Business In Healthcare Division

Alibaba is interested in integrating  a Tmall-operated business into Alibaba Health Information Technology to expand its healthcare business.

Alibaba is deliberating to inject a health supplements and food business into its publicly traded healthcare division after the two organizations dropped their plans of exchanging an e-pharmacy business in a deal worth $2.5 billion.

The Chinese e-commerce company is thinking to inject a “a substantial segment”  of the dietary supplement, nutritional products and health foods business ran by its online shopping company, Tmall into its subsidiary, Alibaba Health Information Technology Limited, revealed a stock exchange statement given on April 1, 2016.

In 2015, Ali Health dropped a $2.5 billion deal to purchase from another division of the web retailer, an online pharmacies sales platform, due to “ongoing regulatory uncertainties”, revealed a statement. Instead of that, it signed a new contract to run the platform Tmall that charges 21.5% of payments done by e-pharmacies as its service fee.

Tmall, usually charges a percentage of every transaction handled through its webpage. On April 1, 2016, the announcement regarding the changes made to the transaction show some challenges that the health-care division of the web retailer faces as it tries to extend in the health and pharmacy industries of China.

The pharmacy sales platform had been anticipated to take advantage of the Chinese government possibly permitting the sales of prescription drugs across the web, but Chinese regulatory bodies are still to proclaim any precise timing on when that may be allowed.

Shares of Ali Health ware traded 4.4% lower at $0.58 at 12 am break in HK trading on April 1, 2016. The stock has dropped by 16% in 2016. Ali Health found out its shares decline previously in 2016 after the Food and Drug Administration of China stopped to implement a drug-coding system.

Revenue generated from running the online platform, which was developed to identify fake medicines, contributed to almost all of the revenue earned by Ali Health in the year ended March 31, 2015.

The two companies are having talks. They have not signed a definitive contract, up till now, Alibaba Health stated on April 1, 2016. For the year ending in March 31, 2015, the total worth of the businesses of pharmacies was around $730 million with the platform Tmall earning a 3% commission, revealed a statement given by the organization in 2015 and regulations on commissions of Tmall.

A vehicle for the health-care ambitions of the tycoon Jack Ma, the scope of business of Ali Health has ranged from an online pharmacy platform to a drug- coding system, online consultation facilities and selling medical insurance.

The organization was named after the web retailer attained control of HK-based investment company Citic 21CN Company for a price of $170 million around 2 years ago to enter the drug-data segment.

At that time, the company stated the transaction would be the basis for a collaboration intended to help develop a pharmaceutical-product details platform. In other news, The Drum reports Alibaba-owned platform Tmall launched a luxury channel by collaborating with Mei brand-com, which is a “flash sales” platform for fashion and luxury goods.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2016 in Ali Baba, Technology

 

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Alibaba Stands Out As Chinese Economy Shifts To Consumption

Alibaba growth, Alibaba earnings

Alibaba earnings have beaten the expectations of analysts by 11% at a time when the Chinese economy is shifting from manufacturing to consumption.

The delicate transition of China to a new model for economic growth might begin to at least pay off, as far as some of the consumer-oriented and earnings of largest companies are concerned. Net Ease, Weibo Corporation and Alibaba are amongst those Chinese companies, which have been listed in the United States that have recorded better than expected results for at least two consecutive quarters.

Out of consumer discretionary and technology companies listed on the Bloomberg China United States Equity Index that have reported the earnings, which have reported their earnings, 80% have recorded 4 quarter sales which are greater than analyst forecast. Overall, the United States traded Chinese companies have on an average beaten sales estimates by 5.3%, revealed data gathered by Bloomberg.

As China is shifting its economic model from that one focused on production to one that is focusing more on consumption and facilities, technology and innovation are being promoted by policy makers to push growth. Efforts and subsidies are included in the initiatives to nurture a range of industries from mobile applications to software development.

The strong performance of new economy shares on the Bloomberg index resembles past patterns. Most of the organizations that have beaten the expectations of analysts on earnings in the most recent period were from the health care, consumer discretionary and technology industries.

The Chinese e-commerce company has beaten third-quarter earnings expectations by 11%, while Weibo and Neibo have beaten expectations by 56% and 24%. Analysts have bullish expectations regarding the tech companies that according to schedule will announce results, increasing the estimates of the first-quarter earnings by at least 6.9% in February for the search engine company, Qihoo 360 Technology, and the online travel service provider, Ctrip.com International.

They’re scheduled to disclose results in late March as around 50% of the 68 organizations listed on the Bloomberg China-United States Equity Index are still due to report their earnings.

Analysts covering the biggest Internet search company of China Baidu in terms of revenue and users have increased their forecasts of earnings per share by 1.2% for the present quarter. The Beijing based company estimates that its revenue for this year’s first quarter will raise between 21% and 26% from a year ago, CEO Robin Li stated while addressing the conference call.

Yet it has been indicated that the internet industry of China might be growing too rapidly, too soon. Operating margins of Baidu have decreased as it injects money into on-demand services and video content and volume growth of the gross merchandise of Alibaba was pressured in the previous quarter, intensifying concern regarding the impact from the slowdown of the Chinese economy.

JD.com kept posting losses as it invested in new sectors amidst in its primary electronics selling business further reduced margins.

ABR Investment strategy CEO Brad Gastwith continues to be optimistic. “We still have a significant amount of people using 3G devices with screen sizes of less than 3 inches,” said Gastwirth who supports Chinese travel service providers and JD.com.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2016 in Ali Baba, Technology

 

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Alibaba To Purchase Major Stake In AGTech

Alibaba investment, Alibaba lottery

Alibaba will buy a huge share in AGTech to re-enter the lottery business of China to extend its portfolio.

Alibaba and its major financial affiliate will pay $308 million (HK$2.39 billion) to purchase control of AGTech to expand its lottery business with in China. Ali Fortune Investment Holding, an enterprise majorly owned by Alibaba has agreed to purchase shares worth $220 million and convertible bonds worth $91.75 million in AGTech. It will owe around 59.45% of the business upon an entire conversion, as filed to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Sunday.

The takeover marks the Chinese online retailer’s return into the profitable lottery businesses of China, following the suspension of operations because of the increasingly onerous restrictions placed by the government.

AGTech, which is running lotteries in a number of Chinese provinces, will extend its games, distribution, and hardware across the nation, the organization said. The lottery business of China, which is regulated strictly by the country’s government, had a participation rate of around 7.5% in 2013, which is less than 56% in the Chinese special administrative region for 2012, demonstrating potential to grow. In the US, the lottery business has a participation rate of 57%.

Alibaba and its financial affiliate will help the lottery company with cloud computation, according to its email on Monday. AGTech’s stock decreased 2% to 25 cents. Alibaba owns 60% of Ali Fortune, while Alipay–operator Ant financial owns the remaining 40%. Alibaba earnings ending in September were damaged by the suspension of its lottery business since late February 2015 due to the imposition of regulation restrictions, the organization told during a conference call held in October.

Following the acquisition of the lottery operator, Alibaba will get the right to appoint five non-executive directors to AGTech’s nine-person board. It  aims to further extend the organization’s distribution, hardware, games and lottery business in the country, leveraging the mobile payment methods of the internet  giant, online trading channels and different other platforms to let AGtech grow aggressively.

AG engages in a number of gaming technologies including terminals, hardware systems, game software, mobile and online lottery, and lottery management.

It’s team is over 200 professionals and its lottery business foothold covers four-fifth of the municipalities and provinces across the country, revealed by the website. In other news, Tech In Asia reported that the Chinese organization has teamed up via an investment of $160 million with the Chinese largest automaker SAIC Motor to develop smart internet-connected vehicles. In April, the collaboration’s first product will be launched at the Beijing Auto Show (BAS).

Virtually every major Chinese internet company is involved in a vehicle related venture, but Alibaba appears to be the one and only BAT company to launch a commercial vehicle. Forbes reported that Chinese banks have lost $22 billion to Tencent and Alibaba last year.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2016 in Ali Baba, Technology

 

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Alibaba’s Top Executives To Buy $500 Million Worth Of Shares

Alibaba shares, Alibaba executives

Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai an Executive Chairman Jack Ma are re-buying  the online retailer’s shares to address the concerns of the investors and other stakeholders

Alibaba Executive Chairman and founder, Jack Ma and Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai are paying $500 million to purchase stock of the Chinese e-commerce company as the Hangzhou based company makes efforts to offset concerns that purchasing on its platforms will be adversely affected as the slowdown of the Chinese economy continues.

The online retailer stated in its regulatory filing that its stock worth $4 billion would be repurchased by it in two years- and that Joseph and Messrs. Mr. Ma intended to purchase the stock of the internet giant as well.

During the third quarter, the enterprise cancelled and repurchase its 40.8 million shares for $274 billion. Purchases of stock worth $500 million were confirmed by Alibaba spokesman. Chinese news website Sina first reported the purchases- but refused to break the purchases between Tsai and Messrs.Ma and Joseph.

Concerns regarding the slowdown of the economy of China and its effects on Chinese buyers have affected the online trading giant. The stock of the electronic trading platform operator, which has declined by over 20% in 2015, closed Friday on the NYSE at a price of $66.91.

Stock was up 4.5% in trading done through midday Monday. The company is also not being able to easily discover ways to accelerate and maintain growth on its marketplaces when it’s already the leading player in the e-commerce industry of China, with four-fifth of the online trading market. The enterprise faces rising rivalry  from smaller competitors like JD.com.

The wealth of Jack  Ma has also been adversely affected along with the share price of his enterprise. In August, research organization Hurun Report stated the Chinese property  tycoon Wang Jianlin had crossed Mr. Jack to turn into the wealthiest person of China.

Still, Mr Jack as well as his family have an estimated net worth of $27 billion in the last year, from a net worth of $25 billion in the past year, Hurun revealed.

In other news, Shanghai daily has reported that an Alibaba- backed private lender stated on 29th February 2016 its focus to provide financial facilities to consumers who aren’t served well has lent billions of dollars to individuals and small enterprises in the previous 8 months.

Through its financial affiliate, Ant Financial Alibaba is holding a 30% share in MYbank. A total of around $6.88 billion( 45 billion yuan) have been lent by MYbank to merchants and farmers on the online marketplace of Alibaba, mom-and-pop stores and owners of restaurants, providing loans to borrowers totaling at 800,000 that haven’t easily been able to access finances from conventional banks.

 

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2016 in Ali Baba, Technology

 

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