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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


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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  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Great. They can sell back to us all the technology they’ve stolen from us since Reagan was president.

    • bridgebuilder78

      As a German, I find your sentiment ironic.

    • blue ocean

      Same question: when you read and write, will you be able to notice that the papers were stole from China? You and your ancestors were failed to pay IP fees?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Alibaba isn’t even Chinese. They stole that from the Persians!

    • blue ocean

      When you read and write, will you be able to notice that the papers were stole from China? You and your ancestors were failed to pay IP fees?

  • Ed

    I have a problem with Chinese companies listing on our stock exchanges. Accounting problems are a major problem. Lost big with Shengdatech, which inflated sales and revenues. Why would another Chinese company be any different, especially one where the access is controlled by the government sensors.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Where’s the Chinese IPO export that will airbrush history and current events?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Your Chinese high-tech purchases will be texting back to world headquarters when you’re asleep at night.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    I find their web pages to be absolutely abysmal.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    CHAIRmanMao. Kitchen furniture. We cheat other guy save you big time.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Whether China or USA. Where money harvesting is the goal, scumbaggery is the means of production.

  • April Arvin

    The Chinese are driving the ivory poaching market I would never buy from Ali baba

    • blue ocean

      Your nationalism/pride will be much more appreciated if you would never buy ‘made in china craps’.

      • April Arvin

        My comment had nothing to do with nationism

        • blue ocean

          So what’s that, pure ignorance and arrogance not based on nationalism? Don’t pretend you do not aware that ivory market is illegal in China, like drugs illegal in US. If I comment ‘The Americans are driving the drug poaching market I would never buy from Amazon’, looks funny like you did, but not funny enough to dilute the ignorance/arrogance. So where would you like to place your ignorance/arrogance other than nationalism?

  • Oh bummer

    Chinese counterparts of Google, Amazon, and Facebook are coming to the US? That’s going to make it a lot harder for the NSA to spy on Americans.

    • blue ocean

      Relax, the great firewall to protect free world is constructing.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Origination of IPO is irrelevant. Global marketplace, nicht wahr?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Do these companies have to disclose market capitalization and major stock/bond holders if they register in the USA?

  • Paul

    With PRC gleaning our personal information off us through their firewall or if their companies share our information. what if we have a economic battle over a situation like Ukraine in Tibet, or the Chinese Sea islands in dispute with Philippines and Japan?

    If it ever came to a sanction battle the PRC could potentially hurt millions of Americans directly.

    Also should we allow China unbridled access to our market? we cannot do business or invest in China. Why should we let them without reform?

    As for pot calling the kettle black. I can live with the pot having my credit card information, I’m not sure how i would feel about the kettle having it.

  • pszabo

    I’m late to the broadcast, but, if this hasn’t been discussed, how will the globalization of ICANN affect internet use and sales pertaining to alibaba and global internet markets? currencies?

  • rich4321

    Until China learnt speech freedom, I don’t think we should allow them to muddle with our stock market.
    What if one day they decide to shut down Alibaba. What is it going to do to our market?

  • rich4321

    I like the first few points. But respectably, I disagree with the last point. It might seem like a good investment on surface, but it’s a very risky one!
    You are gambling on a political system that can change over night, depends on who is in charge of the PRC. It’is a political system anyone rubs the leader the wrong way can get in big trouble.

  • blue ocean

    It was hilarious to see the audience call in pointed out NSA surveillance when the guests were high in questioning internet security in China and roles played by China’s company and Chinese government, blabla…

    There is a simple way to survive: Why don’t Americans pretending NSA does not exist, and Americans are forever standing on the high moral ground to preach ideological nonsense. We will never get enough of such preaching, though.

  • blue ocean

    Why would anyone want to use google, twitter, facebook and other internet services when US government are surveille over your personal information through these companies? Will you and the rest of the world concerned about their intelligence gathering of everybody? Wow! People are so nice in democratic society!

  • chaim01

    I recently bought printer ink from a company that listed via alibaba and as soon as I transferred money to the company it vanished. My emails were not answered and the name of the company was taken down by alibaba so there was no way to even make a claim.

  • ExcellentNews

    While the Constitution of the United States of America began with “We the People” in the 18th century, the Charter of the American Protectorate of the Heavenly Empire in the 22nd century will begin with the words “You the fools…”

    Fools indeed. We established the first viable liberal democracy in the world and championed human rights. We invented the technology and industry that made it possible for a middle class to exist, and for an ordinary person to live well and hope for a better future. We created a country with decent wages, rules, and environment. And then we did what?

    We cheered as a budding oligarchy and their banker pals exported the jobs to a slave labor dictatorship. We gave them tax cuts and inheritance tax cuts (the next best thing to titled aristocracy). We lionized them in our “business schools”. And slowly, the wealth and good of our nation was exported, with the profits stashed in offshore accounts.

    You know, in China, the likes of Sam Walton, Jamie Damon, Grover Norquist…etc would have been SHOT as TRAITORS. Here, a short-sighted crony oligarchy has taken over and gutted America for the last 30 years. Even the strongest democracy in the world can take only so many decades of mismanagement and stupidity…

    What to do? Trade only with countries that meet our standards of human rights, labor laws, and environmental quality. Claw back the misbegotten, offshored profits of job exporters and predatory bankers. Invest in American infrastructure and jobs, especially in clean energy, renewables, biotech, robotics…etc.

    And if our fat cat oligarchs have been so good for China, maybe we should take their US passport and put them on a one-way plane to Beijing, for General Secretary Xi Jinping to reward them as he sees fit.

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