|Day's range||66.00 - 66.00|
The Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) has joined forces with local partners from across Africa to identify and mobilise innovative, resilient, and mission-driven African entrepreneurs, as well as support them throughout the application and selection process of the second edition of the Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition (ABH).
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) isn't taking any chances when it comes to its ongoing recovery in China, its second-largest market. The company has taken the unusual step of offering steep discounts on its current iPhone models in the Middle Kingdom ahead of a major online shopping event -- the 6.18 Festival. Each of the latest flagship iPhone models, including the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max, have all been discounted by about 15% on Apple's official store on the Alibaba Group's (NYSE: BABA) Tmall e-commerce platform.
India's top trending free app on Google's mobile app store, with more than 5 million downloads since late May, is called "Remove China Apps" and does exactly what it says on the label. Its popularity comes amid calls for a boycott of Chinese mobile apps in India as a Himalayan border dispute fuels a backlash against products from China. Popular Indian yoga guru Baba Ramdev posted a video on Twitter on Sunday showing the step-by-step deletion of several Chinese apps, a move he described as a "national service".
U.S. small businesses "Go Digital, Go Global" with three new Alibaba.com offerings that make it even easier to do business.
(Bloomberg) -- NetEase Inc. has started taking investor orders for a listing in Hong Kong that could raise as much as $2.8 billion, which could be the world’s second-largest initial share sale this year.The company plans to sell 171 million new shares in its second listing before exercising the over-allotment option, according to terms for the deal seen by Bloomberg. The offering by the Nasdaq-listed Chinese internet company is already oversubscribed, people familiar with the matter said. It has set the maximum offer price at HK$126 ($16.25) a share, meaning it could raise as much as $2.8 billion.NetEase’s listing is set to overtake coffee giant JDE Peet’s BV’s $2.5 billion initial public offering in Europe as the second-largest initial share sale this year. Only Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway Co. has raised more with its $4.3 billion IPO in January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.The offering comes as tensions between the U.S. and China are intensifying. Late last month, the Senate passed a bipartisan bill that could force major Chinese companies to stop trading their shares on U.S. exchanges. On Friday, President Donald Trump announced measures including that American financial regulators would examine Chinese firms listed on U.S. stock markets with an eye toward limiting American investment in the companies.NetEase follows Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which raised $13 billion in a homecoming listing last year while JD.com Inc. won approval from Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. last week for a $2 billion offering, Bloomberg has reported.NetEase’s Hong Kong share sale represents about 5% of its total shares outstanding after the completion of the deal. The company is taking orders from institutional investors from Monday through June 4 and retail ones from June 2 to June 5, terms for the deal show.It aims to price the offering on June 5 before the U.S. market opens and to begin trading on June 11. NetEase plans to use the proceeds for global strategies and opportunities, to fund innovation and general corporate purposes.China International Capital Corporation Ltd., Credit Suisse Group AG and JPMorgan Chase and Co. are joint sponsors.A representative for NetEase declined to comment on the subscription of the offering.(Updates first, second and third paragraphs with details of share offering.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch’s China Roundup, a digest of recent events shaping the Chinese tech landscape and what they mean to people in the rest of the world. Last week, we had a barrage of news ranging from SoftBank's latest bet on China's autonomous driving sector to Chinese apps making waves in the U.S. (not TikTok). TikTok isn’t the only app with a Chinese background that’s making waves in the U.S. A brand new short-video app called Zynn has been topping the iOS chart in America since May 26, just weeks after its debut.
(Bloomberg) -- When Justin Sun met Warren Buffett for dinner in January, he wasn’t seeking advice on stocks. The crypto mogul had spent a record $4.6 million at a charity auction for the opportunity to lecture the world’s most famous investor on the benefits of Bitcoin.It was exactly the sort of behavior that Sun’s known for -- abrasive, ostentatious and, ultimately, impossible to ignore. Like the $200 billion crypto industry itself, he is young and hungry for the respect of traditional financiers like Buffett, who deems Bitcoin basically worthless.Still shy of his 30th birthday, Sun founded one of the largest blockchain platforms, Tron, in 2017 and turned it into a virtual Las Vegas with gambling apps. He’s rubbed shoulders with Apple Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founders, hired celebrity endorsers like the late Kobe Bryant and drawn accusations of plagiarism, which he has denied, more than once. What he says and does can move crypto prices, and his aggressive acquisitions have earned him both admiration and notoriety in the blockchain community on his way to consolidating power.“I’m a true believer of blockchain. It’s once in a lifetime,” he said in a rare in-depth interview from a luxury office suite overlooking Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. “It’s only people who don’t understand it who question me.”Making his personal fortune by embracing Bitcoin as early as 2012, and now by his own account worth somewhere in the hundreds of millions of dollars, Sun is part of a second wave of crypto entrepreneurs who envision putting more than just digital money and payments on a decentralized platform. Last week, Sun and his team touted an upcoming major update to Tron, which will include more privacy features and enterprise applications.Newer blockchains like Tron let developers build so-called decentralized apps, or dapps, on their platforms. Ethereum is the foremost among them, with its co-founder Vitalik Buterin offering a simple analogy: if Bitcoin is a pocket calculator, platforms with dapps are akin to smartphones. But unlike Android or iPhone apps, dapps are decentralized in the sense that they aren’t run on one server or by any single entity.Sun’s Tron has 342 active dapps and more than 230,000 users, both roughly half Ethereum’s totals, according to data tracker Dapp Review. It’s been accused by researchers like Digital Asset Research of copying Ethereum’s code without attribution, and by Buterin himself of stealing words from other projects’ whitepapers. Tron and Sun have denied both accusations.The bulk of business done on Tron today revolves around the largely unregulated field of crypto gambling, with a January Dapp Review report describing it as “Las Vegas on the blockchain.” In the first quarter, casino dapps comprised 92% of Tron’s $411 million total transaction volume, according to the Binance-owned researcher. Sun said the Dapp Review estimate was inaccurate and over-stated the gambling activity on the Tron blockchain. In fact, such transactions are only a fraction of the total, he said.Sun “identified niche customer bases, namely gamers and gamblers, that have great reasons to use blockchain, drive a lot of transactions, and are crypto savvy,” said Matthew Graham, chief executive officer of Sino Global Capital, a Beijing-based blockchain consultancy.Since its inception, Tron has been augmented with the acquisitions of live-streaming service DLive, briefly the exclusive online home of YouTube star PewDiePie, and file-sharing service BitTorrent Inc. Through a partnership with Samsung Electronics Co., Tron dapps can be downloaded via one of the world’s most widely distributed mobile app stores.Sun has proven himself an able marketer, raising $800,000 in under five minutes through a public token sale for his lending platform, called Just. He also commands an audience of two million Twitter followers.But he’s also been challenged on basic information. While Sun said he often covers the $5 million quarterly operational costs for Tron, Ryan Dennis, a spokesman for the nonprofit Tron Foundation that coordinates the blockchain platform’s operations, denied that figure -- saying they won’t be able to get accurate cost numbers “due to the coronavirus pandemic changing everything on a day-to-day basis.”As a sociology student in the U.S., Sun founded an online magazine about current affairs -- though it closed after he was accused of plagiarism by another author. Sun has denied the accusation, saying he merely imitated the author’s style.He then made the switch to tech.After an unsuccessful attempt to set up China operations for American crypto company Ripple in 2014, Sun went back to the drawing board with $5 million of venture-capital money from backers like IDG Capital and ChinaEquity Group. He tried almost every hot idea in China’s internet space, finally finding success in Peiwo, which let users connect with random strangers via voice messages. That app would later be slammed by China’s top state news agency for spreading vulgar and pornographic content.On social media, he billed himself as Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma’s first millennial protégé, since he was picked up in 2015 by the billionaire’s MBA program. When fellow tech entrepreneurs ran into cash crunches, he was often quick to say he would lend them money. He said he had a 100 million-yuan ($14 million) charity budget for 2019, part of which was distributed in cash giveaway campaigns via his Weibo account.Sun’s dinner with Buffett is still the banner image on his Twitter profile. The meeting had been scheduled for last July, but three days before the planned date Sun rescheduled, citing a bout of kidney stones. Later that week, he took a selfie and then live-streamed himself with San Francisco’s Bay Bridge in the background to rebut a news report that he was under Chinese border control. He then apologized on Weibo to the Chinese regulators and public for his “excessive self-promotion.” He was banned from the microblogging site at the end of 2019. (Sun now has a team, including a photographer, to manage his Twitter and Instagram accounts.)Read more: Buffett Lunch Mystery Deepens as His Date Apologizes to SocietyWhen Sun finally sat down with Buffett, his entreaties crashed against a wall of skepticism.“It’s not just Buffett, the Chinese government also has the same attitude,” Sun said.Sun shut down his Beijing offices last year, after China launched a renewed crackdown on a crypto industry it views with suspicion. He said he hasn’t returned to mainland China since the end of 2018, though he’s not prohibited from doing so.During the Covid-19 pandemic, the jet-setting entrepreneur has been stuck in Hong Kong. But he has continued to stumble into controversy. In February, Sun bought the social network Steemit, billed as “owned and operated by its users,” along with 30% voting control over its platform. Fearing that gave Sun too much power, part of the Steemit community temporarily froze his stake and then split the blockchain into a whole new branch.“His playbook might be the optimal strategy during the early barbaric growth period of the crypto industry,” said Wayne Zhao, analyst and managing partner of researcher TokenInsight. “You are nothing without people’s attention, no matter if it’s good or bad.”(Updates with Sun’s comment in the eighth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- JD.com Inc. and NetEase Inc. have won approvals to forge ahead with their Hong Kong share sales that could raise billions of dollars, as political turmoil leaves the city’s status as an international finance center clouded in uncertainty.Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. approved the secondary listing applications by the U.S.-listed Chinese tech companies, according to people familiar with the matter, asking not to be identified discussing private matters. Online gaming firm NetEase filed a preliminary prospectus with the exchange later on Friday, a confirmation that it has received the official green light.NetEase plans to list in Hong Kong on June 11, while China’s No. 2 online retailer JD aims to debut on June 18, Bloomberg News has reported. JD’s stock sale could raise at least $2 billion to help the e-commerce firm shore up its position in an increasingly competitive home market.Representatives for Hong Kong’s stock exchange, JD and NetEase declined to comment.Escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing are increasing risks for Chinese companies like JD and NetEase who seek to broaden their investor base. U.S. capital markets are becoming frosty toward Chinese firms, and fears over the impact of national security legislation set to be imposed on Hong Kong, including the resumption of protests in the city, have sent the local market into convulsions.What Hong Kong Losing Its ‘Special Status’ Would Mean: QuickTakeThe twin debuts would follow Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s $13 billion Hong Kong stock sale last year, hailed as a homecoming for Chinese companies and a win for Hong Kong stock exchange, which lost many of the largest tech corporations to U.S. bourses because it didn’t allow dual-class share voting at the time -- a requirement that’s since been relaxed.Shares in U.S.-listed Chinese companies have see-sawed since senators overwhelmingly approved legislation on May 20 that could bar the country’s firms from American exchanges. The decision cast a pall of uncertainty over hundreds of billions of dollars of shares in some of the world’s best-known companies.(Adds NetEase filing in second paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <BABA.N> is emerging as one of China's biggest corporate winners of the coronavirus crisis, gaining the opportunity to expand its businesses and solidify its status as a critical part of the country's socio-economic engine. While many companies are hurting from disruption caused by the virus, Alibaba has seen traffic at its online marketplaces shoot higher and demand grow for services like food delivery. The company, which emerged as China's leading e-commerce company after the 2003 SARS outbreak, is now positioning itself as a hirer and a lender too, advertising for over 100,000 jobs and offering billions of dollars in loans to small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) at a time when many others are retrenching.
(Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund is planning deep cuts in staffing after reporting about $18 billion in losses from the declining value of its startups, according to people familiar with the matter.The reductions could affect about 10% of the fund’s workforce of roughly 500, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel decisions. The Vision Fund’s headquarters are in London, with additional operations in Tokyo and California. The cuts will be across all levels of staff, said one person.A spokesman for the Vision Fund declined to comment.SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son and his $100 billion Vision Fund changed the tech industry by handing out enormous checks to relatively unproven startups. But the fund went from SoftBank’s main profit contributor a year ago to its biggest drag on earnings. It lost 1.9 trillion yen ($17.7 billion) last fiscal year after writing down the value of investments, including WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc.Son originally said he hoped to raise a new Vision Fund every two to three years, but he has conceded he can’t attract money now because of the poor performance. The fund, led by Rajeev Misra, operates as a SoftBank affiliate with most of the money coming from limited partners, led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co.“It makes sense that SoftBank is cutting positions at the Vision Fund as they are in an extremely difficult situation, and they may start targeting highly paid workers to cut costs,” said Koji Hirai, head of M&A advisory firm Kachitas Corp. in Tokyo.The Vision Fund grew rapidly after launch three years ago as Misra recruited scores of people from the finance industry, including many of his former colleagues from Deutsche Bank. Among its managing partners are several of the German bank’s ex-employees, including Colin Fan, former co-head of its investment banking division.The fund also set up an unusual compensation structure that includes a $5 billion loan to employees. The debt is swapped for equity in the fund and generates profit when deals make money -- and losses when they don’t, scaled by seniority, people familiar with the matter have said. The poor performance so far, along with the layoffs, may prompt some employees to look for other positions.“One side effect is that the best people at SoftBank may exit to find better funds,” said Hirai. “If so, their fund business may become even worse, sliding down from a slope.”The Vision Fund has struggled since WeWork botched its efforts to go public last year and SoftBank stepped in to bail the company out. The Vision Fund currently manages more than 80 portfolio companies, but Son expects about 15 of the fund’s startups will likely go bankrupt while predicting another 15 will thrive.“Vision Fund’s results are not something to be proud of,” Son said earlier this month as he announced record losses. “If the results are bad, you can’t raise money from investors. Things aren’t good, that’s why we are investing with our own money.”The fund has already unwound some investments, including selling a nearly 50% stake in dog-walking startup Wag Labs back to the company last year. Son has said he plans to sell off about $42 billion in assets to finance stock buybacks and pay down debt.SoftBank disclosed it’s unloading some shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and is in talks to sell about $20 billion of T-Mobile US Inc., Bloomberg News reported. It’s also exploring a deal for its minority stake in industrial software maker OSIsoft LLC that could be worth $1.5 billion.SoftBank shares, after plummeting in March, have recovered and are little changed for the year. The stock rose just more than 1% in Tokyo trading.One emerging question is how Alibaba -- SoftBank’s most valuable holding -- will be affected by the clash between the U.S. and China. A bill just approved by the U.S. Senate could force Chinese companies like Alibaba to stop trading their shares on U.S. exchanges.“The big picture is SoftBank is caught up with U.S.-China conflict right now, and SoftBank may need to conduct a drastic restructuring if Alibaba was delisted from New York,” said Hirai. “Its main banks and the capital markets are anxiously awaiting an outcome for the situation.”(Updates with additional details starting in the first paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. pioneered the use of live-streaming hosts to sell everything from lipstick to smartphones in China. Now, the e-commerce giant wants to repeat that success globally with the help of a million influencers on forums from TikTok to Instagram.AliExpress, the company’s online marketplace for shoppers outside China, is on the hunt for social media personalities to hawk wares on its online malls around the world. It’s looking to attract more than 100,000 content creators this year to its recently launched AliExpress Connect, rising to over a million in three years. The platform offers a matchmaking service, helping pair social media influencers with brands and merchants looking to market their products. Its initial focus is Europe, where Russia, France, Spain and Poland comprise the majority of users.Alibaba hopes to replicate the success it’s enjoyed with so-called key opinion leaders driving sales on its China online marketplace Taobao. “For both Taobao and AliExpress, social content is a way to diversify offerings, but not to generate revenue,” Yuan Yuan, head of operations for AliExpress, told Bloomberg News. Influencers will help users stick with the platform instead of just making a one-time purchase. “The goal is to accumulate users, keep them there and encourage them to remain active.”China’s largest e-commerce company currently gets just a fraction of its retail revenue from outside its home country, but it’s harbored bigger international ambitions for years. The move marks Alibaba’s latest global push and comes at a time when Covid-19 is fueling an unprecedented boom in social media. The company’s rivals, including TikTok proprietor ByteDance Ltd. and Tencent-backed Pinduoduo Inc., are playing catch-up in live streaming and other means of social commerce championed by the Taobao Live app.Global social giants like Facebook Inc. have also added new features that support online shopping. In the U.S., more than 75 million social-network users aged 14 or older are expected to make at least one online purchase this year, up over 17% from 2019, according to research firm eMarketer.Influencers and content creators can sign up for Connect using TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and other social accounts. They can then solicit assignments from AliExpress merchants seeking help in promoting their goods or services. This gives the influencer options, from merely reposting the seller’s social media posts to creating original videos. Commission fees can be based on the sales the influencers generate.AliExpress is one of two Alibaba online bazaars for international buyers, the other being the Southeast-Asia-focused Lazada. AliExpress merchants are mainly small, export-oriented businesses in China, but global brands like Samsung and Oral-B have increasingly set up shop on the platform, targeting regional markets. Its top consumer markets include Russia, the U.S., Brazil and Spain.Yuan said AliExpress aims to help at least 100 of its army of a million influencers earn an annual income of more than $1 million within three years. “Only if they can make money will they be motivated to create good content for our platform,” she said.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Pinduoduo's (NASDAQ: PDD) stock recently surged to an all-time high after the company posted its first-quarter earnings. The Chinese e-commerce company's revenue rose 44% annually to 6.54 billion yuan ($924 million), beating estimates by $189 million but marking its slowest growth rate since its IPO.
(Bloomberg) -- TikTok’s parent ByteDance Ltd. generated more than $3 billion of net profit on over $17 billion in revenue last year, figures that show the world’s most valuable startup is still growing at a brisk rate, according to people familiar with the matter.The revenue for last year was more than double the company’s tally of about $7.4 billion in 2018, propelled by phenomenal growth in user traffic that’s drawn advertisers away from Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Baidu Inc. The people asked not to be identified because the financial details are private.ByteDance has emerged as one of the tech industry’s most surprising success stories, an innovative Chinese company that is challenging the global dominance of U.S. internet giants. It draws some 1.5 billion monthly active users to a family of apps that includes the TikTok short-video platform, its Chinese twin Douyin and the news service Toutiao. This month, the company poached Walt Disney Co. streaming czar Kevin Mayer to become chief executive officer of TikTok.The company owes much of its success to TikTok, now the online repository of choice for lip-synching and dance videos by American teens. The ambitious company is also pushing aggressively into a plethora of new arenas from gaming and search to music. ByteDance could fetch a valuation of between $150 billion and $180 billion in an initial public offering, a premium relative to sales of as much as 20% to social media giant Tencent thanks to a larger global footprint and burgeoning games business, estimated Ke Yan, Singapore-based analyst with DZT Research.“None of the Chinese tech companies has achieved this level of success in the global market before ByteDance,” he said, adding neither social media company harbors much debt. “The fact that ByteDance is making profit, if true, and sitting on a $6 billion cash pile means that it is not in a rush at all to come to market to raise capital, and therefore less likely to offer the shares at a more reasonable price for IPO investors.”ByteDance, led by Zhang Yiming, is becoming a viable rival to the dominant American online behemoths, Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. Facebook unit Instagram brought in about $20 billion in advertising revenue in 2019, Bloomberg previously reported. Google said its video unit YouTube recorded $15.1 billion in ad sales last year.ByteDance representatives didn’t respond to a request for comment.That success has come despite American lawmakers raising concerns about privacy and censorship. In a rare bipartisan effort in Washington, Republican Senator Tom Cotton and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer last year urged an investigation into TikTok, labeling it a national security threat.President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to regulate or shut down social media companies, tweeting that the platforms attempt to silence conservative voices. Twitter Inc. on Tuesday added a fact-checking link to two of Trump’s tweets to his 80 million followers.ByteDance is strengthening its operations in newer arenas such as e-commerce and gaming. This year, it kicked off a wave of hiring and envisions hitting 40,000 new jobs in 2020, hoping to match headcount of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. at a time technology corporations across the globe are furloughing or reducing staff.The company had very preliminary discussions about an initial public offering last year, but is in no rush to go public given its financial performance, people have said. It now has more than $6 billion of cash on hand, the people said.ByteDance, which is backed by SoftBank Group Corp., General Atlantic and Sequoia, is already the world’s most valuable startup, according to researcher CB Insights. Some private trades recently valued the Chinese company between $105 billion and $110 billion on the secondary markets, Bloomberg News previously reported. It has also traded as high as $140 billion, one person said, making it one of the most highly valued private companies of all time.(Updates with Trump tweets in ninth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
JD.com, the online retailer that is Alibaba's long-time nemesis, announced Wednesday a strategic partnership with Kuaishou, the main rival of TikTok's sibling in China, Douyin. The thinking goes that video platforms can leverage the trust that influencers instill in their audience to tout products ranging from cosmetics to electronics. Much of the transaction happens over live broadcasting -- a bit misleading as these apps are billed as "short video" apps with live video features -- which allows for real-time interaction between merchants and shoppers.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Is India’s richest man betting on a tech cold war?Petrochemicals czar Mukesh Ambani plans to list his fledgling digital business overseas, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday, citing people with knowledge of Jio Platforms Ltd.’s initial public offering, which is planned for the next 12 to 24 months.Going to the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq would make sense. U.S.-traded Chinese technology firms such as JD.com Inc. and NetEase Inc. are looking for an alternative home closer to the mainland in case tensions between Washington and Beijing escalate, as my colleague Nisha Gopalan wrote this week. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. held a secondary listing in Hong Kong in November. With Washington considering a range of sanctions against Chinese officials and firms as punishment for Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong, now may be the perfect time to pitch American investors on the potential of the other internet market with a billion-plus people.A splashy overseas foray will be an unusual step for a family that brought the retail equity culture to India. Dhirubhai Ambani, Mukesh’s late father who founded the empire, booked a football stadium in Mumbai in 1985 to hold a shareholders’ meeting for the polyester textile maker that he had floated eight years earlier. But then, Mukesh Ambani is already moving old furniture around as he pivots flagship Reliance Industries Ltd. away from an oversupplied energy and chemicals market. At the same time, he’s beefing up the balance sheet after a seven-year, $100 billion debt-fueled expansion. A big chunk of that was for Jio, the wireless carrier that has become India’s largest in less than four years.A $7 billion rights issue, Reliance’s first in three decades, buttressed by more than $10 billion raised in a month from the sale of shares in unlisted Jio Platforms may help cut the company’s $20 billion of net debt to zero before Ambani’s March 2021 target. A U.S. IPO should give Jio’s new backers, including Facebook Inc., KKR & Co., Silver Lake Partners and General Atlantic, a better valuation in a capital market that’s deeper than Mumbai’s.Will Wall Street be so hospitable as to give Ambani, say, a $100 billion valuation? (Alibaba, a more mature business, was valued at $168 billion six years ago.) Jio Platforms, which is centered on the the 4G mobile network, is the cornerstone of Reliance’s emerging triple play on carriage, content and commerce. With almost 400 million customers under his belt, Ambani needs to prove he can garner at least $3 from each of them every month. Modest as that sounds, it isn’t an easy task when per-user revenue is at present only a little over half as much. The coronavirus lockdown has ravaged India’s economy, setting its growth prospects back perhaps by several years. Mass market consumers, who comprise Jio’s user base, have been badly hurt.That’s where a tech cold war may help. Wall Street investors have been able to profit from the explosion of e-commerce in China, even though the likes of Facebook and Amazon.com Inc. are largely shut out of the People’s Republic. If that access gets curbed by geopolitics, then Ambani’s story becomes more compelling. He can offer the vision of a vast retail network that has Facebook’s popular WhatsApp messaging system processing orders and payments for neighborhood shops connected digitally to a billion-plus buyers. That could be a big draw. A U.S. home is within Ambani’s reach, especially if Chinese firms are forced to vacate. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp. is exploring a sale of a minority stake in OSIsoft LLC that could be worth more than $1.5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.SoftBank is working with a financial adviser to sell the stake in the industrial software company, which is held by its Vision Fund, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. The move is part of SoftBank’s new focus on raising cash, they said.The Japanese firm’s plans aren’t final and it could opt to keep the stake, the people said.Representatives for the Vision Fund and OSIsoft declined to comment.SoftBank Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son has said he would sell off about $42 billion in assets to finance stock buybacks and pay down debt. SoftBank disclosed it’s selling shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and it’s in talks to sell about $20 billion of T-Mobile US Inc., Bloomberg News reported.SoftBank’s Vision Fund has unwound some investments, including dumping its entire stake in chipmaker Nvidia Corp. in February 2019. The fund, which has made bets on companies like WeWork that have cratered, sold a nearly 50% stake in dog walking startup Wag Labs back to the company last year.San Leandro-California based OSIsoft sells software into sectors including oil and gas, utilities and pharmaceutical development, according to its website.SoftBank acquired a “significant minority stake” in the company in 2017 from backers including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and TCV, according to a statement. Its investment was worth a bit less than $1 billion, a person familiar with the matter said at the time.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Alibaba Group Holding's (BABA) fiscal fourth-quarter 2020 earnings are driven by a steady improvement in core commerce and strong cloud business.
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: The Clorox Company, MGP Ingredients, Middlesex Water, Baidu and Alibaba
The Chinese tech giant will overcome its near-term challenges and generate even bigger returns over the next few decades.
(Bloomberg) -- Meituan Dianping founder Wang Xing’s fortune has nearly doubled since his company emerged from the depths of China’s Covid-19 lockdown, cementing his place among a generation of the country’s most prominent tech entrepreneurs.Meituan’s stock climbed 10.4% on Tuesday after it reported better than expected revenue, driving its market value past $100 billion for the first time and stoking hopes the world’s largest meal delivery business will bounce back as China regains its footing. Based on his 11.3% slice of the company, the chief executive officer’s wealth has soared since Meituan plumbed a low on March 19 to about $10.3 billion as of Tuesday.Backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., Meituan’s sprawling services from food delivery to hotel booking helped establish the company as one of a coterie of upstart challengers to incumbent tech leaders, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent itself. Meituan’s businesses -- among the most vulnerable to a nationwide shutdown -- began to climb out of a trough in April and May, offsetting slumps in harder-hit areas such as hotels. As of March’s final week, more than 70% of restaurants surveyed had recovered over half their normal order volumes, while 30% had exceeded pre-pandemic levels, Wang told analysts on a call Monday.Wang relied on deals and expansion to turn what started as a Groupon-type service into a food delivery giant that now also spans food reviews and in-store dining services. A computer engineer by training, Wang -- whose role model is Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos -- is putting growth ahead of the bottom line to secure Meituan’s place among China’s pantheon of tech giants. He’s part of a new generation of up-and-comers, along with fellow billionaires like ByteDance Ltd.’s Zhang Yiming and Didi Chuxing’s Cheng Wei.“Looking into the next three quarters, we believe there will still be challenges as there are still uncertainties and potential downside from the ongoing evolution of the COVID-19 situation,” Wang said on the call. “Meanwhile, a large number of local service merchants are still struggling for survival. Short-term profitability is not our top priority.”Read more: The Greatest Delivery Empire on Earth Has Alibaba’s AttentionMeituan’s stock surge came after it reported better-than-expected sales of 16.8 billion yuan ($2.4 billion) in the three months ended March. Morgan Stanley and CICC were among the brokerages that subsequently lifted their targets on the company, citing resilience across business lines and easing competition.“COVID-19 had a negative impact on Meituan but results beat on top-line and bottom line by a wide margin,” Bernstein analysts led by David Dai wrote. In food delivery, the “long run potential is still there and the profitability level can be much higher” after the company pushes advertising, they added.Longer term, the internet services giant will have to grapple with China’s worsening economy, which may further dent consumer spending. Subsidies and measures to help restaurants and merchants during the outbreak will again pressure profitability in the June quarter, executives said. Meituan reported a lower-than-projected net loss of 1.58 billion yuan, but that was after three successive quarters of profit.What Bloomberg Intelligence SaysMeituan’s near-term growth may weaken as its in-store dining, hotel and travel businesses take time to fully recover from China’s coronavirus outbreak. Operating efficiency will likely improve in the longer term as the company expands its market-leading scale and competition with Alibaba moderates. Broadening service categories and providing technology solutions for merchants will aid sales and profit growth.\- Vey-Sern Ling and Tiffany Tam, analystsClick here for the research.Before the outbreak, Meituan had pushed aggressively into adjacent arenas from online travel to ride-hailing. While revenue from the business that encompasses hotels and travel plunged 31% during the March quarter, Meituan’s much smaller new initiatives segment -- which includes bike- and car-hailing -- grew sales 4.9%, aided by the launch of a new grocery delivery service. Hotels remained hardest-hit: in the week of May 11, domestic room nights were at about 70% pre-pandemic levels.While Meituan is expanding offerings to sell things like handsets and farm produce, rivals including Ant Group and SF Express, both backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., are elbowing their way into Meituan’s core takeout business. Alibaba’s food-delivery arm Ele.me is also engaging in a subsidy battle with the startup for market leadership.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Meituan Dianping’s shares soared after it reported a smaller than expected 13% slide in revenue that drove hopes the world’s largest meal delivery business is starting to recover as China emerges from Covid-19 lockdowns.Its shares climbed as much as 9.7%, extending strong gains since China began to return to normal in mid-March and propelling Meituan’s market value to more than $100 billion. That surge came after Meituan reported better-than-expected sales of 16.8 billion yuan ($2.4 billion) in the three months ended March. Morgan Stanley and CICC were among the brokerages that lifted their targets on Meituan, citing resilience across business lines and easing competition.Backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., Meituan’s sprawling services from food delivery to in-store dining and hotel booking were among the most vulnerable to nationwide shutdowns. But its businesses had begun to climb out of the trough, offsetting severe slumps in areas such as hotels, executives told analysts on a Monday conference call. As of March’s final week, more than 70% of restaurants surveyed had recovered more than half their normal order volumes, while 30% had exceeded pre-pandemic levels, Chief Executive Officer Wang Xing said.“COVID-19 had a negative impact on Meituan but results beat on top-line and bottom line by a wide margin,” Bernstein analysts led by David Dai wrote. In food delivery, the “long run potential is still there and the profitability level can be much higher” after the company pushes advertising, they added.Longer term, the internet services giant will have to grapple with China’s worsening economy, which may further dent consumer spending. Subsidies and measures to help restaurants and merchants during the outbreak will again pressure profitability in the June quarter, executives said.Meituan reported a lower-than-projected net loss of 1.58 billion yuan, but that was after three successive quarters of profit.“Looking into the next three quarters, we believe there will still be challenges as there are still uncertainties and potential downside from the ongoing evolution of the COVID-19 situation,” Wang said on the call. “Meanwhile, a large number of local service merchants are still struggling for survival. Short-term profitability is not our top priority.”What Bloomberg Intelligence SaysMeituan’s near-term growth may weaken as its in-store dining, hotel and travel businesses take time to fully recover from China’s coronavirus outbreak. Operating efficiency will likely improve in the longer term as the company expands its market-leading scale and competition with Alibaba moderates. Broadening service categories and providing technology solutions for merchants will aid sales and profit growth.\- Vey-Sern Ling and Tiffany Tam, analystsClick here for the research.Before the outbreak, Meituan had pushed aggressively into adjacent arenas from online travel to ride-hailing. While revenue from the business that encompasses hotels and travel plunged 31% plunge during the March quarter, Meituan’s much smaller new initiatives segment -- which includes bike- and car-hailing -- grew sales 4.9%, aided by the launch of a new grocery delivery service. Hotels remained hardest-hit: in the week of May 11, domestic room nights were at about 70% pre-pandemic levels.While Meituan is expanding offerings to sell things like handsets and farm produce, rivals including Ant Group and SF Express, both backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., are elbowing their way into Meituan’s core takeout business. Alibaba’s food-delivery arm Ele.me is also engaging in a subsidy battle with the startup for market leadership.(Updates with target increases by brokerages in second paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.