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Alibaba And China’s Big Internet Players

China’s Alibaba – its Amazon – prepares an American IPO. We’ll look at the booming Internet landscape on the other side of the world.

A worker walks in the main building of Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba.com, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Shanghai. China. (AP)

A worker walks in the main building of Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba.com, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Shanghai. China. (AP)

Alibaba is coming to the U.S.A.  The Chinese Internet giant – China’s Amazon and more – is coming to Wall Street for an IPO.  A giant stock offering.  Maybe the biggest tech offering ever.  It’s opening a huge window into China’s alternate Internet universe.  Alibaba as its Amazon.  Baidu as its Google.  Tencent as its Facebook.  Now breaking all the rules and lines and competing with each other.  It’s been called the Internet’s World War I, and it’s all happening inside China.  It could change the Internet.  It could change China.  This hour On Point: Alibaba, and all the Internet in China.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Gady Epstein, China correspondent for The Economist. (@gadyepstein)

Lily Kuo, emerging markets reporter for Quartz. (@lilkuo)

Tom Doctoroff, Asia-Pacific CEO for J . Walter Thompson. Author of “Billions: Selling to the New Chinese Consumer” and “What Chinese Want: Culture, Communism and the Modern Chinese Consumer.”

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: New York Stock Exchange Is Front-Runner to Land Prized Alibaba Listing — “The two major U.S. stock exchanges typically compete aggressively for marquee IPOs, offering discounts on certain fees, and promotional efforts to increase visibility of the listing. Representatives from NYSE and Nasdaq have been courting Alibaba CEO Jack Ma since the middle of last year, according to people involved in the talks.”

Quartz: Alibaba’s $215 million purchase in Tango is about copying, not competing with, WeChat — “It’s not certain yet that US consumers want so many bells and whistles in their messaging applications—not having them is a core part of WhatsApp’s philosophy.Alibaba is still playing catch up in the messaging revolution that’s swept China. If demand for messaging apps that do much more than chat reaches the US, Alibaba doesn’t want to miss out.”

re/code: As Messaging Wars Escalate, Social App Tango Raises $280 Million –“In order to differentiate itself from pure messaging services, however, Tango has over the past year expanded its app offerings. Initially, Tango made a name for itself as a voice-over-Internet protocol service for smartphones, essentially an alternative to Apple’s FaceTime. But as text-based messaging services rose in popularity, Tango pivoted, tacking on content and social discovery elements to its app.”

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