BABA - Alibaba Group Holding Limited

NYSE - Nasdaq Real Time Price. Currency in USD
178.16
-4.35 (-2.38%)
As of 12:07PM EDT. Market open.
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous Close182.51
Open181.25
Bid178.13 x 800
Ask178.13 x 1000
Day's Range177.15 - 181.33
52 Week Range129.77 - 195.72
Volume7,452,706
Avg. Volume16,021,473
Market Cap463.852B
Beta (3Y Monthly)1.87
PE Ratio (TTM)50.95
EPS (TTM)N/A
Earnings DateN/A
Forward Dividend & YieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-Dividend DateN/A
1y Target EstN/A
Trade prices are not sourced from all markets
  • Verizon Media Group CEO on Company Reorganization, Revenue Diversity Plan, Asia Focus
    Bloomberg

    Verizon Media Group CEO on Company Reorganization, Revenue Diversity Plan, Asia Focus

    Sep.19 -- Guru Gowrappan, executive vice president and group chief executive officer at Verizon Media, discusses the reorganization of the company, his plan to diversify revenue, how different the business will look in the future and his strategy for Asia. He speaks exclusively on “Bloomberg Markets: China Open” from the sidelines of the Milken Institute Asia Summit in Singapore.

  • Akamai Acquires KryptCo, Enhances Cloud Security Portfolio
    Zacks

    Akamai Acquires KryptCo, Enhances Cloud Security Portfolio

    Akamai's (AKAM) strong media division traffic, growing adoption of cloud-based security solutions and robust over-the top (OTT) content viewing are key positives.

  • Is Alibaba Group Holding (BABA) Outperforming Other Retail-Wholesale Stocks This Year?
    Zacks

    Is Alibaba Group Holding (BABA) Outperforming Other Retail-Wholesale Stocks This Year?

    Is (BABA) Outperforming Other Retail-Wholesale Stocks This Year?

  • SoftBank's Eyes Wide Shut Just Won't Work Anymore
    Bloomberg

    SoftBank's Eyes Wide Shut Just Won't Work Anymore

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- They built him up. And now they want to bring him down.SoftBank Group Corp.’s sudden turn against WeWork CEO Adam Neumann highlights how the Japanese conglomerate has wielded far more dollars than sense in its investment strategy. Officials tied to SoftBank want Neumann to step down as CEO, according to reports over the weekend.SoftBank and its Vision Fund are WeWork’s biggest investors, with a stake of around 29% in We Co., the company’s official name. That support is a key reason why this real-estate rental company fetched a $47 billion valuation. To SoftBank, WeWork was a unicorn on the rise. Its corporate peccadilloes, which largely revolve around corporate governance, appear to have been ignored by executives at the Japanese company: WeWork was a unicorn and SoftBank just had to be part of it. So SoftBank kept pouring in more money, just as it did with other great startups like Uber Technologies Inc., Didi Chuxing and Slack Technologies Inc. At one point SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son described WeWork as the next Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in reference to the fortune he made from investing in Jack Ma’s Chinese e-commerce giant. It wasn’t until WeWork filed its IPO prospectus in August that the rest of the world saw in clear daylight what SoftBank’s common sense-radar had failed to detect when it signed each check. As my colleague Shira Ovide wrote at the time, the list of “transactions involving a company’s CEO or other insiders is astonishing for WeWork.”Among them: Neumann’s wife is one of two or three people who get to choose a successor if he is incapacitated; the CEO owns stakes in some of the office buildings that WeWork leases; and at least two members of Neumann’s family did work for the company’s Creator Awards, which its biggest outside shareholder committed $180 million to fund.That outside shareholder is none other than SoftBank – a stark reminder that Masayoshi Son and his team not only knew of these dealings, it actively enabled them.Because these red flags have spooked other investors, WeWork is looking more like it’ll fetch $15 billion when it eventually lists. So now SoftBank cares, to the tune of a $9 billion lower value on its stake. It’s too late to exit WeWork. But it’s not too late to exit Neumann.Comparisons to Uber are inevitable. Co-founder Travis Kalanick faced numerous complaints about his erratic management style and questionable judgment. SoftBank’s entry into into the ride-hailing giant’s capitalization table was part of the solution to a problem. Son bought out a lot of Kalanick’s stake, giving other shareholders and board members leverage to push out the CEO and replace him.In WeWork’s case, it may be that Son himself is wielding the cutlass. According to CNBC, his maneuver is seen by some as part of an effort to stop a planned IPO altogether. Last week I discussed why halting the IPO might be good for SoftBank.Just as a new CEO helped revive sentiment toward Uber, and prepare it for a successful IPO, Son is likely betting that simply getting rid of Neumann and pretending that will fix things should be enough to juice the valuation when a listing does eventually happen. And should installing a new CEO result in, say, a $25 billion valuation instead of $15 billion, then that would be a $3 billion win for SoftBank.Yet this recent maneuvering by SoftBank suggests the concern isn’t WeWork’s funky corporate structure, but that public-market investors don’t like this funky corporate structure. It’s like a kid not being sorry for dipping his hand in the cookie jar, but for getting caught.It tells us also that SoftBank is tone deaf. WeWork’s structure should have raised red flags even before it decided to pump billions into the company. It could have gone straight to Neumann and the existing board and pushed for change, because that’s the kind of power a big stack bully with a $100 billion checkbook wields.Instead, it looks like SoftBank’s biggest concern was the Vision Fund’s much-vaunted internal rate of return.It’s very possible this WeWork saga will be a wake-up call to SoftBank. Maybe now they’ll be clear-sighted enough to spot landmines before they hit them – instead of boldly barreling down the unicorn highway in the belief that speed negates any need for caution.But with plans for a second $100 billion Vision Fund, prospective investors will be asking if they want to bet on it.To contact the author of this story: Tim Culpan at tculpan1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at rrosenthal21@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • China Boosts Government Presence at Alibaba, Private Giants
    Bloomberg

    China Boosts Government Presence at Alibaba, Private Giants

    (Bloomberg) -- The government of one of China’s top technology hubs is dispatching officials to 100 local corporations including e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the latest effort to exert greater influence over the country’s massive private sector.Hangzhou, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, is assigning government affairs representatives to facilitate communication and expedite projects, the city government said on its website. Chinese beverage giant Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co. and automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. are among the other companies based in the prosperous region that have been singled out, according to reports in state media.The Hangzhou government said the initiative was aimed at smoothing work flow between officials and China’s high-tech companies and manufacturers. But the move could be perceived also as an effort to keep tabs on a non state-owned sector that’s gaining clout as a prime driver of the world’s No. 2 economy. Representatives of the country’s public security system are already embedded within China’s largest internet companies, responsible for crime prevention and stamping out false rumors. Government agencies may also be heightening their monitoring of the vast private sector at a time China’s economy is decelerating -- raising the prospect of destabiliziing job cuts as enterprises try to protect bottom lines. Alibaba is hosting its annual investors’ conference this week in Hangzhou against the backdrop of a worsening outlook for the country.“They might be checking whether the Communist party units are working effectively within the companies,” said Paul Gillis, a professor at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management. “While China legitimized capitalism, the level of government influence was never intended to disappear. Occasionally private entrepreneurs forget about this and are reminded of it.”Read more: Chinese Technology Moguls’ Latest Obsession: Red TourismZhejiang is considered the cradle of modern Chinese private enterprise, home to a generation of self-made billionaires from Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Geely founder Li Shufu to Wahaha’s Zong Qinghou. The Communist Party accepted so-called “red capitalists” or private entrepreneurs into the Party in 2001, allowing them to become part of the country’s legislature a year later.Still, the relationship between Beijing and well-known business people remains sensitive. The government has been seen to try and step up an official presence within non-state firms, by among other things mandating that private companies of scale set up and maintain a Party branch. It wasn’t clear whether the 100 Zhejiang-based companies included foreign enterprises.“We understand this initiative from the Hangzhou city government aims to foster a better business environment in support of Hangzhou-based enterprises. The government representative will function as a bridge to the private sector, and will not interfere with the company’s operations,” Alibaba said in a text statement. Representatives for Wahaha and Geely didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.Why Communist China Is Home to So Many Billionaires: QuickTakeThe Hangzhou initiative also underscores how the government is trying to arrest a slowdown in the economy brought on by the trade war, said Brock Silvers, managing director of Kaiyuan Capital. He expects similar policies to soon follow for other manufacturing-intensive areas.“The economic slowdown and trade war are having a significant impact on China’s manufacturing base, and officials probably don’t see a quick resolution on the horizon,” Silvers said. “As the government expects manufacturers to experience near-term difficulties, it wants to exert a firm control over local policy decisions and implementation.”(Updates with analyst’s comment from the eighth paragraph)\--With assistance from Tian Ying and Rachel Chang.To contact the reporter on this story: Lulu Yilun Chen in Hong Kong at ychen447@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • China to send state officials to 100 private firms including Alibaba
    Reuters

    China to send state officials to 100 private firms including Alibaba

    China's top technology hub Hangzhou plans to assign government officials to work with 100 private companies including e-commerce giant Alibaba, according to state media reports, in a move likely to raise concerns over the growing role of the state. The step underscores how Chinese government and party authorities are growing more deeply integrated into the private sector, as its economy sputters amid an intensifying trade war with the United States. The city of Hangzhou, home to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd , will designate government officials to work with 100 local companies in the eastern province of Zhejiang, the local government said on its website.

  • These new Apple iPhones are already sold out in China on launch day
    Yahoo Finance

    These new Apple iPhones are already sold out in China on launch day

    After a few tough quarters in China, Apple is winning back some consumers there. Here are their favorite new iPhone models so far.

  • Western Digital to Offload IntelliFlash Business to DDN
    Zacks

    Western Digital to Offload IntelliFlash Business to DDN

    Western Digital's (WDC) focus to ensure its products deliver high quality storage solutions across all emerging data-driven technologies bodes well. Also, ongoing expansion of product portfolio bodes well for the top line.

  • Semtech's Lora Technology in Use in Alibaba's New Tracker
    Zacks

    Semtech's Lora Technology in Use in Alibaba's New Tracker

    Semtech's (SMTC) LoRa devices technology has been deployed in Alibaba's new location tracker, Beagle.

  • China Internet Plays Adjust to a Post-Growth World
    Bloomberg

    China Internet Plays Adjust to a Post-Growth World

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- A sharp rebound in Chinese internet stocks over the past six weeks would have you believe that companies just turned in another quarter of stellar growth. Instead, what they did was to deliver the spending pragmatism that shows management understands the new era that’s upon us.Revenue for a basket of Chinese companies – from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to Mango Excellent Media Co. – climbed at the slowest rate in at least four years during the second quarter. A 13% gain in the CSI Global China Internet Index shows that investors are buying back into the sector because they view this latest earnings season with optimism. Instead of demanding brisk revenue numbers, they’re embracing what amounts to a new low-growth paradigm because companies are showing a tendency to manage costs. The most significant swing factor in operating income at Chinese internet companies over the past few years has been sales and marketing expenses. Firms were spending buckets of money to lure users to their platforms, even when it resulted in little extra revenue. At one point, such costs were climbing so fast that operating income was slowing even when sales expansion was strong. That super-growth phase in China is now over. Companies needed to adapt.I discussed these concerns a month ago, noting that if management would embrace this new normal, shares might enjoy the rewards of fiscal discipline. That appears to be what happened.Although median revenue growth was 20.6% in the second quarter, median sales and marketing cost expansion fell to 10.9%, the slowest in almost four years.(2) As a result, median operating income growth improved to 14.1%, the highest level of the past four quarters.It’s not necessary for companies to slice marketing costs to the bone, but merely to ensure they’re getting a bigger bang for their buck amid a broader Chinese macroeconomic slowdown. Results from second-quarter earnings indicate this is the tactic most companies are now employing.Investors think so, too, and seem happy to reward them accordingly.(1) This analysis excludes companies that lack data for at least the past five quarters, or which don't provide discrete sales & marketing figures.To contact the author of this story: Tim Culpan at tculpan1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McDowell at pmcdowell10@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Starbucks & Alibaba Team Up to Offer Voice Ordering in China
    Zacks

    Starbucks & Alibaba Team Up to Offer Voice Ordering in China

    Starbucks (SBUX) partners with Alibaba to offer voice ordering and delivery to its Chinese customers.

  • Trade Talks: Will Hong Kong Endanger Negotiations?
    Market Realist

    Trade Talks: Will Hong Kong Endanger Negotiations?

    The ongoing crisis in Hong Kong could impact the trade talks between US and Chinese deputies. The US might bring new legislation on the Hong Kong crisis.

  • SoftBank Founder’s Empire Is Vulnerable to WeWork Woes
    Bloomberg

    SoftBank Founder’s Empire Is Vulnerable to WeWork Woes

    (Bloomberg) -- Masayoshi Son, who built a $15.2 billion fortune investing in tech startups like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., is betting on himself more than ever, even as his empire shows signs of vulnerability.The SoftBank Group Corp. founder has pledged 38% of his stake in the Japanese firm as collateral for personal loans from 19 banks, including Credit Suisse Group AG and Julius Baer Group Ltd., according to a June regulatory filing. That’s up from 36% at the start of the year and triple the level in June 2013.“It lets him monetize a large share of his wealth without foregoing influence over the firm,” said Michael Puleo, assistant professor of finance at Fairfield University’s Dolan School of Business in Connecticut. “But there’s an elevation of crash risk. If the share price falls low enough, he could get a margin call and that could be pretty costly.”The structure highlights the extent of Son’s exposure to SoftBank and its $100 billion Vision Fund. Shares in the Japanese conglomerate have been rocked recently by the postponement of WeWork’s initial public offering. The delay came after the office-rental unicorn was being marketed at a steep discount to the $47 billion figure that the Tokyo-based conglomerate invested at earlier this year. That’s spooked investors, who’ve sent SoftBank’s shares down 4.6% this week through Thursday as the listing unraveled, knocking about $700 million off Son’s net worth. The stock has still advanced 26% this year.Son, 62, also has leveraged his stake in the Vision Fund, which invests in tech startups. That boosts his returns if things go well, with outsized losses if they don’t. Uber Technologies Inc.’s falling market capitalization and WeWork’s travails are set to dent the 62% return on the fund that SoftBank reported through March.“There is a danger in companies where the founder calls all the shots regardless of whether there are loans,” said Robert Pozen, a senior lecturer with the MIT Sloan School of Management in Boston. “And when founders borrow a lot against their shares, they might be more tempted to make riskier decisions,” he said, adding that borrowing against 5% of one’s stake is usually considered prudentd.Pay OutSoftBank’s compensation plan also involves a lot of debt. Son loaned himself around $3 billion to invest in the first Vision Fund, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Using loans for a private investment compounds Son’s risk because he would be less able to bail himself out if things go south, Pozen said.The loan was swapped for equity in the fund and will generate profits when deals make money -- and losses when they don’t. Vision Fund employees, including high-profile bankers and investors, receive base salaries and bonuses, but only get payouts when profits are booked.It’s unclear how much of this compensation will be reported in SoftBank’s next annual report. Son’s pledged shares, which currently have a market value of $9 billion, are excluded from his net worth calculation by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. SoftBank spokeswoman Hiroe Kotera declined to comment.SoftBank is planning to lend as much as $20 billion to its employees to buy stakes in a second venture capital fund, the people said. Son may account for over half of the employee investment pool, they said.Ellison, MuskPledged shares have become an increasingly common way for founders to unlock the value of a stake without selling shares. Larry Ellison has a history of pledging Oracle Corp. stock to fund a lavish lifestyle, which includes trophy properties, America’s Cup teams and the Indian Wells tennis tournament. About 27% of his Oracle shares -- worth more than $16 billion -- are currently pledged. Elon Musk has pledged about 40% of his stake in Tesla Inc., according to a May 2019 filing.Still, the move comes with risks. “If the price of our common stock were to decline substantially, Mr. Musk may be forced by one or more of the banking institutions to sell shares of Tesla common stock to satisfy his loan obligations if he could not do so through other means. Any such sales could cause the price of our common stock to decline further,” Tesla warned in a filing.The risk-loving Son, who saw $70 billion wiped from his fortune in the dot-com crash, is unlikely to be fazed. He told shareholders at the company’s June meeting that SoftBank’s investment portfolio could grow 33-fold to 200 trillion yen ($1.8 trillion) in 20 years.(Updates Son’s net worth in fourth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Pei Yi Mak, Sonali Basak, Ben Stupples and Venus Feng.To contact the reporters on this story: Giles Turner in London at gturner35@bloomberg.net;Tom Metcalf in London at tmetcalf7@bloomberg.net;Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at palpeyev@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Pierre Paulden at ppaulden@bloomberg.net, Steven Crabill, Giles TurnerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Alibaba Makes Its Biggest Bet in Taiwan By Funding Augmented-Reality Startup

    (Bloomberg) -- Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has agreed to invest in augmented-reality startup Perfect Corp. in its biggest bet so far in Taiwan, people with knowledge of the matter said.Alibaba is leading a new round of funding for Perfect Corp., according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Chinese venture capital firm CCV, led by former KPCB China Managing Partner Zhou Wei, and Taiwan’s Cyberlink Corp. are also participating in the round, the people said.Perfect Corp. announced Thursday it’s forming a strategic partnership with Alibaba to bring its augmented reality technology to the Chinese company’s online platforms. It didn’t mention any financial terms of the tie-up.Alibaba will use Perfect Corp.’s YouCam virtual try-on technology, which allows users to see what makeup would look like on their faces before buying, when selling products like lipstick and eyeliner on its Taobao and Tmall online shopping platforms. The partnership will help Perfect Corp. form relationships with global brands and access the beauty market in China, founder Alice Chang said in the statement.“This is a classic win-win strategic partnership,” said Jeremy Choy, head of Asia technology mergers and acquisitions at HSBC Holdings Plc, who helped work on the tie-up. “Perfect strengthens its business and network in the important Chinese market and customers gain a better shopping experience.”Representatives for Alibaba and CCV declined to comment, while representatives for Perfect Corp. and Cyberlink didn’t immediately answer phone calls and emails seeking comment.To contact the reporters on this story: Manuel Baigorri in Hong Kong at mbaigorri@bloomberg.net;Lulu Yilun Chen in Hong Kong at ychen447@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fion Li at fli59@bloomberg.net, ;Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net, Ben Scent, Edwin ChanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Tide Turns Against Vaping as India Bans Sales, China Sites Pull Juul
    Bloomberg

    Tide Turns Against Vaping as India Bans Sales, China Sites Pull Juul

    (Bloomberg) -- India became the latest country to ban electronic cigarettes only days after Juul Labs Inc.’s products vanished from online Chinese marketplaces, a sign Asian nations may be no refuge for the industry from an escalating crackdown in the U.S.India’s government announced an executive order Wednesday banning the sale and production of all e-cigarettes, echoing growing concerns worldwide over health risks associated with the smokeless nicotine devices popular with teenagers.“Why are we debating if it’s more harmful or less? It is harmful. It is addictive,” said Preeti Sudan, India’s health secretary. “The entire next generation will be going down the drain if we don’t control it now.”Originally touted as a safer alternative to wean people off cigarettes, e-cigarettes have come under widespread attack in the U.S., especially for their appeal among youth. India’s decision follows similar prohibitions in about 27 other countries including Australia, Singapore and Brazil and comes on the heels of halted online sales of Juul’s products in China, the world’s largest tobacco market.‘Strong’ ActionDespite increasing global curbs on vaping, some nations view e-cigarettes as viable alternatives to smoking, a leading cause of preventable death. And though cigarette companies are getting into the electronic nicotine-delivery business -- including most notably a nearly $13 billion investment in Juul by Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. -- a vaping health scare could cause sales of the tobacco giants’ most important products to jump.Shares of cigarette makers in India gained on news of the ban.U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to “do something very, very strong” after the recent outbreak of a mysterious lung disease linked to vaping that has killed six people in the U.S. and afflicted hundreds of others. Lawmakers in the U.S. are also investigating the marketing of Juul, America’s top-selling e-cigarette brand.U.S. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat, told Juul Chief Executive Officer Kevin Burns in a letter dated Tuesday that the company had failed to produce all the documents requested by a House Oversight Committee and that further delay could result in the company receiving a subpoena.Juul only started selling its nicotine vaporizers online in China last week. Its official online stores disappeared on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Tmall and JD.com Inc. by Tuesday, prompting speculation that official action may be on the way.Juul wasn’t given a reason for why its products were pulled, according to a person familiar with the matter, but said in a statement it wants to make them available again.No Reasons GivenThe latest developments in India and China come as a blow to vaping companies that were setting their sights on Asia, where 65% of the world’s cigarettes are sold, as increased pressure in the U.S. forces them to look for growth elsewhere. India alone has 266.8 million tobacco users, according to a WHO factsheet.It isn’t clear if China plans to ban or enforce stricter scrutiny of e-cigarettes or vaping devices. The country’s National Health Commission -- a body responsible for health and sanitation -- announced it was devising legislation for such products in July, arguing the “hazards of e-cigarettes should be highly valued.”The Chinese health commission also said labels describing nicotine concentration on many such products are vague, and can lead to excessive consumption by users.Michael R. Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, has campaigned and given money in support of a ban on flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco.Some nations, however, view vaping as a lesser evil than smoking.Public health officials in the U.K., the biggest market in Europe for the products, endorse vaping as a way to wean people off smoking -- the prevailing view across Europe, where authorities are more sanguine about the effects of vaping.E-cigarettes allow users to satisfy their cravings by inhaling vaporized nicotine rather than tobacco smoke. Their popularity has soared in recent years driven by candy-like flavorings, sleek devices and savvy marketing.The U.S. Surgeon General called it an “epidemic,” after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters that 5 million American kids said they’ve vaped this year. The Food and Drug Administration has been investigating the safety of e-cigarettes after reports of seizures.(Updates with U.S. lawmaker’s letter to Juul Labs in eighth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Carolynn Look and Shruti Srivastava.To contact the reporters on this story: Ari Altstedter in Mumbai at aaltstedter@bloomberg.net;Bibhudatta Pradhan in New Delhi at bpradhan@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rachel Chang at wchang98@bloomberg.net, Bhuma Shrivastava, Timothy AnnettFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Microsoft, Walt Disney Partner to Boost SLAB initiatives
    Zacks

    Microsoft, Walt Disney Partner to Boost SLAB initiatives

    Microsoft's (MSFT) IoT initiatives aimed at providing robust tools and platform to developers, and strengthening partner base will aid it in improving overall performance.

  • Alibaba (BABA) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Alibaba (BABA) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

    In the latest trading session, Alibaba (BABA) closed at $177.05, marking a -1.18% move from the previous day.

  • 3 Mega-Cap Cloud Stocks for Tech Investors to Buy in September
    Zacks

    3 Mega-Cap Cloud Stocks for Tech Investors to Buy in September

    Check out these three mega-cap cloud computing stocks that tech investors should consider buying right now...

  • Success in China Is All About Having the Right Formula
    Bloomberg

    Success in China Is All About Having the Right Formula

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Selling infant formula to China seems so 2016.The country abandoned its one-child policy three years ago, spurring expectations of a baby boom. These have been well and truly dashed. Fertility rates remain stuck around the levels they’ve been at for two decades, and the 15 million children born in 2018 was the lowest figure since 1961. Roughly five Indians are born each year for every three Chinese.So what’s the country’s second-biggest milk producer China Mengniu Dairy Co. doing paying an Amazon.com Inc. valuation for milk-powder producer Bellamy’s Australia Ltd.? The answer tells you a lot about the changing prospects for the Chinese consumer.Bellamy’s, which makes organic milk and infant foods and first sold shares to the public as recently as 2014. Mengniu’s cash offer, which Bellamy’s board has recommended, is a 59% premium to the last pre-deal closing price and values the company at A$1.5 billion ($1 billion), about 30 times its Ebitda in the last fiscal year (Amazon gets just 27 times).Formula producers such as Bellamy’s, Nestle SA, and Danone SA have gone through a rough patch in China recently, driven by the slowing birth rate and a general softening in consumer spending.China’s retail sales grew just 7.5% from a year earlier in August, the National Bureau of Statistics reported Monday, the second-slowest pace since the SARS epidemic in 2003. Fixed-asset investment in food processing plants year-to-date slumped 9.4% from a year earlier, suggesting companies see dismal prospects for growth.So what’s so special about Bellamy’s? For one thing, it still benefits from the long shadow of China’s 2008 tainted-milk scandal, when products including those made by Mengniu, its majority-controlled affiliate Yashili International Holdings Ltd., and arch-rival Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co. were found to have contained the toxic chemical melamine.That’s made foreign-branded infant formula such a hot commodity in China that Australian retailers have had to implement maximum-purchase rules to stop the booming buy-overseas, post-back-home trade from clearing their shelves.That’s not enough on its own, though, given the general headwinds. After all, Mengniu tried to capitalize on this trend back in 2015 when Yashili invested 1 billion yuan ($141 million) in a New Zealand factory. The mid- to high-end image of the Kieember and Kieevagour brands produced there clearly haven’t been a Bellamy’s-level success.Yashili announced plans to sell a 49% stake in the New Zealand business to Danone for the equivalent of about $201 million last December, but the sale was canceled last month amid unsuccessful attempts to strike a broader agreement between the two companies. While the valuation uplift was clearly a positive, it’s notable that neither side was desperate to gain or retain control of the asset without getting something else in return.What makes Bellamy’s different is that it eschews the mid-range altogether. Its cans of formula sell on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Tmall marketplace for 50% more than shoppers pay in Australia, where the organic branding means it’s already a premium line. It’s not so much a bet on China’s baby boom, as on growing wealth disparities and rising affluence in a country that already accounts for a third of the world’s luxury spendingEven in that context, Mengniu will struggle to make a good return on its investment. The company plans to invest to increase capacity and drive sales, Chief Executive Officer Minfang Lu said in a statement. That’s easier said than done, given that it takes three years to convert dairy farms to organic production. Australia is a relatively small organic milk producer, with output of about 50 million liters in 2017 compared with 880 million liters in China, according to KPMG.Mengniu will need to be confident this brand can hold its own against Yili, Nestle and Danone at the top end of a fiercely competitive Chinese market. Three-quarters of its revenue at present comes from sales in Australia. While Bellamy’s is often treated as a play on Chinese demand, it’s not there yet.Shareholders in the target would do well to sell into this offer. Those in Mengniu should hope they don’t end up crying over spilled milk.To contact the author of this story: David Fickling at dfickling@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Brooker at mbrooker1@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.David Fickling is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities, as well as industrial and consumer companies. He has been a reporter for Bloomberg News, Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Guardian.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • The U.S.-Trained Coder Is Helping NetEase Find a New Life Beyond Games
    Bloomberg

    The U.S.-Trained Coder Is Helping NetEase Find a New Life Beyond Games

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it's going next.For decades, NetEase Inc. has been the perennial runner-up to the likes of Tencent Holdings Ltd. in China’s evolving internet landscape. Now it’s betting on a bookish computer scientist to catapult it to the top of the class in the nation’s $36 billion online education market.Zhou Feng, chief executive officer of NetEase Youdao, is charged with helping NetEase escape from under Tencent’s enormous shadow and find life beyond video games. The U.S.-trained software coder handpicked by billionaire founder William Ding Lei is creating an all-in-one learning platform to tap the lucrative space where education and technology overlap. To bankroll that expansion, the company could float Youdao, last valued at $1.1 billion, as soon as this year.Zhou is counting on a decades-old custom. Every summer, millions of Chinese high school students sit through a grueling two-day college entrance exam, or gaokao, that helps determine the course of their lives. That’s why China’s tiger moms and dads have long sent their kids from as early as kindergarten age to private tutoring classes for English, math and sciences.Intense competition has fueled an education boom, particularly targeting the K-12 group that includes students from kindergarten through high school, creating a coterie of multi-billion-dollar corporations. Leading players like New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. and TAL Education Group that still rely mainly on in-class teaching have gone public in the U.S. and seen their shares soar. Online startups such as the Tencent-backed VIPKid are still trying to convince parents that digital instruction can be as good, if not better than brick-and-mortar classrooms.Through combining content with the latest technology, Zhou sees a business chance for Youdao, whose name loosely translates to “there’s a way”. Courses can be taught through high-speed live-streaming, enabling smooth communication between teacher and student. Artificial intelligence-powered “tutors” can grade homework and use data to evaluate student test results, he said.“That’s what we have always been good at,” said Zhou, 40, a University of California at Berkeley alumnus with a penchant for blending English words into conversations. “Almost every industry in China has been transformed by the internet, but that’s not yet the case for education.”Revenue for China’s online education market is estimated to have reached around 252 billion yuan ($35.7 billion) in 2018, and is expected to more than double in 2022, with 264 million paying users, according to iResearch.But there’s yet to be a clear winner -- even for top tuition providers like New Oriental, its digital arm Koolearn in 2017 only accounted for less than 1% of the total revenue in the local online teaching market, according to Frost & Sullivan data cited in its prospectus. What sets Youdao apart is its exclusive focus on online and its expansion into education-related hardware. It has launched a slew of products from apps for note-taking and children’s stories to smart devices like a 799 yuan electronic dictionary pen, which allows students to scan printed text and translate it instantaneously.“NetEase’s technology support and the company’s online DNA and roots should make its products more sophisticated than traditional education providers,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Vey-Sern Ling. Still, not having physical classrooms means it could be difficult for Youdao to expand beyond structured, standardized learning or test prep, he said.NetEase could do with a win. Founder and CEO Ding has a master plan for China’s second largest game developer to delve into three sectors including e-commerce, music streaming and online education, but the result is best described as mixed. Its music arm has grappled with rising content costs, as it has to sublicense a large chunk of songs from its much bigger rival, Tencent Music Entertainment Group. Although e-commerce has grown to become NetEase’s largest division after gaming in terms of revenue, it sold its popular import platform Kaola to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in a $2 billion deal.That magnifies the importance of Youdao and its leader, with whom Ding shares a long history. Back in 2004, when Zhou was pursuing his doctorate degree in computer science, NetEase’s CEO came across his paper on filtering junk emails, and, ironically, shot him a message that was mistaken as spam. It had no body text but just a subject line: “I’m Ding Lei, I have a technical question for you.”The two eventually got in touch via phone calls, and Zhou worked part-time for NetEase for three years. After earning his doctorate in 2007, he officially joined the company as lead architect for Youdao in Beijing, which at the time was trying to morph from a digital dictionary into a web search engine. To challenge the local leader Baidu Inc., Youdao’s approach was to operate a slew of vertical search services at one time, in everything from news to blogs to maps.Those efforts failed, and in 2012 Zhou decided to close the search operation. “That was when we hit our lowest point,” he said. Zhou shifted the 400-person team to develop learning apps instead.Youdao’s revenue rose 60% in 2018 from a year earlier, while sales for K-12 courses increased three-fold in the same period, he said. Online courses have surpassed advertising as Youdao’s largest income stream, Zhou said.Now of the nearly 2,000 employees Zhou oversees at Youdao, half are teachers and other staffers dedicated to building up its online class portfolio. “Learning is much more difficult than playing video games,” he said.To contact the reporter on this story: Zheping Huang in Hong Kong at zhuang245@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Top Stock Picks for Week of September 16, 2019
    Zacks

    Top Stock Picks for Week of September 16, 2019

    A Biotech Pioneer and an E-Commerce Giant.

  • Hong Kong IPOs Rush to Beat the Clock
    Bloomberg

    Hong Kong IPOs Rush to Beat the Clock

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Hong Kong’s IPO market is unexpectedly coming back to life. It may be a brief revival.Companies from Anheuser-Busch InBev SA’s Asian unit to Megvii Technology Ltd. aim to raise more than $10 billion selling shares before the year is out. It’s a turnaround that appeared improbable as recently as mid-August, when the Hang Seng Index erased its gain for the year amid anti-government protests and concerns over weakening global growth.Hong Kong’s benchmark stocks gauge has bounced 8% since Aug. 13, among the best-performing indexes worldwide in that period, as traders bet that China’s government will try to buoy investor spirits in the run-up to Oct. 1, when the country celebrates the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. That’s created a window of opportunity for companies that previously struggled to generate enough investor interest.Budweiser Brewing Company APAC Ltd. is the prime example. The unit of AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, pulled what would have been the world’s biggest initial public offering in mid-July after failing to draw sufficient demand for the $9.8 billion sale. The company is back with a pared-down $5 billion offering and aims to list by the end of September, Carol Zhong, Julia Fioretti, Jinshan Hong and Crystal Tse of Bloomberg News reported last week, citing people familiar with the matter.The brewer is seeking to list minus its Australian operations, which the company agreed to sell to Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. for $11.3 billion soon after withdrawing its IPO in July. That hived off a slower-growing part of its operations, which may help attract investors who balked at Budweiser Brewing’s valuation last time around.Other than a rising stock market, a simple technical reason may account for the brewer’s haste to try again. A company that seeks to list within six months of its first application doesn’t need to prepare a new set of accounts, meaning Budweiser Brewing can just strip the Australian operations from its financials when pitching to investors this time around.Others lining up at the IPO well include Megvii, a Beijing-based artificial intelligence startup that’s seeking $1 billion;  consumer lender Home Credit NV,  which is targeting as much as $1.5 billion; Chinese sportswear retailer Topsports International Holdings Ltd., which aims to raise about $1 billion; and ESR Cayman Ltd., a logistics real estate developer backed by Warburg Pincus that earlier shelved a $1.2 billion deal. The first to list of the current crop may be biotechnology firm Shanghai Henlius Biotech Inc., which has already started taking orders for a $477 million sale.The biggest flotation of all may come in October, when New York-traded Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. will seek to raise as much as $15 billion in a secondary listing, Reuters reported last month.The resurgence in the IPO market is a tonic for Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., which has faced skepticism over its $36.6 billion bid for London Stock Exchange Group Plc and whose shares have dropped 16% from this year’s high. Hong Kong has slipped in the pecking order of global stock exchanges after topping the rankings in 2018. Companies raised $10.8 billion in IPOs this year through Sept. 13, less than half of the total in the same period last year.The question is whether there will be enough investor demand to soak up all the stock that an eager and growing group of listing candidates is waiting to thrust on buyers. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s economy is deteriorating and the protests haven’t gone away. Companies must also consider whether China’s feelgood efforts will extend beyond Oct. 1.Time may be of the essence for this crowd. To contact the author of this story: Nisha Gopalan at ngopalan3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Brooker at mbrooker1@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Nisha Gopalan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals and banking. She previously worked for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones as an editor and a reporter.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.