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96.37-3.10 (-3.12%)
At close: 4:00PM EST

95.69 -0.68 (-0.71%)
Pre-market: 9:05AM EST

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Previous close99.47
Bid95.55 x 2200
Ask96.10 x 1800
Day's range94.58 - 96.75
52-week range32.70 - 108.29
Avg. volume10,615,116
Market cap149.936B
Beta (5Y monthly)0.83
PE ratio (TTM)655.58
Earnings dateN/A
Forward dividend & yieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-dividend dateN/A
1y target estN/A
  • Alibaba, Pinduoduo Fight Against China’s Looming Food Crisis

    Alibaba, Pinduoduo Fight Against China’s Looming Food Crisis

    (Bloomberg) -- The battle to supply 1.4 billion people with fresh fruit and vegetables is taking China’s e-commerce companies into the country’s hinterlands, where they are attempting to revolutionize centuries-old agricultural practices to secure future supply for their burgeoning online grocery businesses.Xi Jinping’s government has long made self-sufficiency in food a “top state issue” as it seeks to avert a looming food crisis. The need to modernize China’s 200 million largely small-scale farms took on added urgency during the pandemic, when output and logistics disruptions coincided with homebound shoppers turning to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other internet retailers for their produce.Now, some of the country’s largest private companies have joined in with state efforts to help growers boost production, improve food quality and lower prices. For the e-commerce giants, it’s one way of strengthening their foothold in an online grocery market that’s expected to be worth more than $120 billion by 2023, without running afoul of Beijing’s recent crackdown on monopolistic practices like predatory pricing and forced exclusivity arrangements.In Fujian along the eastern coast, Alibaba has provided chicken farmers with smart bracelets that track the health of their poultry, while under Inc.’s guidance, rice growers in China’s arid north have installed smart sensors to gain real-time insights for irrigation. Out west, scientists in Yunnan are teaming up with Pinduoduo Inc. to use artificial intelligence to automate strawberry planting.“Agriculture is a critical area supported by the Chinese government,” said Liu Yue, an analyst with market research firm EqualOcean. With rural youths flocking to cities for better jobs and food safety increasingly threatened by pesticides and outdated farming methods, the country’s tech champions are eager to lend Beijing a hand, she said.The driving force behind the e-commerce platforms’ push into smart agriculture is the boom in online groceries, which is expected to double to about 820 billion yuan ($127 billion) by 2023 from last year, according to iResearch. The category overtook consumer electronics as the biggest contributor at in the first half last year, while Alibaba is making a bigger push into the business by taking a larger stake in hypermart Sun Art Retail Group Ltd.Meanwhile, a clutch of smaller rivals ranging from Xingsheng Youxuan and MissFresh-- both backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd. -- to Dingdong Maicai are in the process of raising billions of dollars to grab larger shares of the online fresh foods distribution market. That prompted state media to warn in December against overcrowding in the sector, saying instead that internet giants with immense data and advance algorithms should do more in technology innovation.“Covid-19 has helped accelerate the conversion of such purchases to online channels,” said Vey-Sern Ling, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “It’s a large untapped market, and the companies have to participate or be left behind.”At a time when Chinese leaders are clamping down on monopolies in areas from fintech to e-commerce, smart agriculture is one sphere where the tech giants’ commercial interests are aligned with the national agenda.In guidelines issued on Sunday, the State Council called for increased private investment to develop modern farming techniques and empower villages using advanced technologies. Breeding and cultivation sciences were also listed as one of Beijing’s top tech priorities for the next five years, alongside AI, quantum computing and computer chips. JD has said its smart farm projects are at least 50% funded by government subsidies.Despite the efforts, the growing appetite for fresh fruits and vegetables has left most of China’s traditionally labor-intensive farms -- roughly 98% of the 200 million operators are families or small businesses -- struggling to keep up. The country’s restrictions on land ownership and diverse terrain spanning the steppes of Inner Mongolia to the tropical shores of Hainan island in the south make it difficult to implement the industrial-scale farming that’s commonly seen in the U.S. and Europe. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics also show that about a third of farm workers are aged 55 or older, and the birthrate is at record lows, driving labor costs higher.Lei Jinrong is one farmer who’s benefited from partnering with the online retailers. The owner of Fuxin Farm in Fujian province has equipped 1,000 of his chickens with Apple Watch-style bracelets supplied by Alibaba. The devices digitally track the number of steps the birds take each day and anything below 20,000 would be an early sign of illness, he said, adding that he no longer needs to patrol his fields in search of sick poultry.The grower has also deployed street lamp-like devices that monitor air temperature, humidity and the level of toxic ammonia gas generated from bird waste, all displayed in real-time on a computer screen at his office. That has enabled Lei to expand production without hiring more workers -- good news as average salaries in his village have almost quadrupled over the past decade.In the eastern province of Shandong, peach farmers increased revenue by 50% last year after using JD’s blockchain technology to encrypt each step of the planting process and increase trust and transparency, attracting consumers long weary of food scandals from tainted milk powder to imitation eggs.“The improved efficiency and the economies of scale will drive down costs while higher-quality produce will yield better prices,” said Charlie Chen, head of consumer research at China Renaissance in Hong Kong. This will benefit both farmers and the e-commerce operators, he said.Pinduoduo, which raised $6.1 billion in November in part to finance its agricultural innovations, is counting on these efforts to help it quadruple sales of farm products to 1 trillion yuan by 2025. The company expects the initiatives to help it diversify beyond online retail, as it aims to license cutting-edge farming technology down the road, according to David Liu, vice president of strategy.Many of these initiatives are still in their infancy and scaling up will take time, as farmers have only recently started to collect data -- the foundation of running AI and other next-generation technologies -- and test new methods of growing. But the twin drivers of surging demand for online produce and Beijing’s push for self-sufficiency in food supplies means the tech behemoths’ forays into modernizing China’s farms have only just begun.“Smart agriculture is really the way to move forward,” said Lei, the chicken farmer. “We all have to innovate.”(Updates with more details from farmer in 13th paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

  • China’s Twitter-Like Weibo Plans Hong Kong Second Listing

    China’s Twitter-Like Weibo Plans Hong Kong Second Listing

    (Bloomberg) -- Weibo Corp., China’s largest micro-blogging service, is planning a second listing in Hong Kong as soon as this year, people familiar with the matter said, joining a growing cohort of U.S.-traded Chinese firms in seeking a trading foothold in the financial hub.The Asian nation’s answer to Twitter Inc. is working with advisers on the potential share sale, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.Weibo’s American depositary receipts closed 0.2% lower on Thursday after declining as much as 2.3%. They have still climbed about 37% in the past year, giving the company a market value of $13.3 billion.Deliberations are at an early stage and details of the share sale including size and timing could still change, the people said. A representative for Weibo was not immediately able to comment.A wave of Hong Kong share sales by U.S.-listed Chinese firms, kicked off by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s second listing in late 2019, continues to grow. E-commerce giant Inc. and online gaming firm NetEase Inc. are among the companies that raised some $17 billion in 2020, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The listings act as a hedge against the risk of being kicked off U.S. exchanges as well as giving the companies a broader investor base closer to their home markets.Other companies planning so-called homecoming listings this year include music-streaming service Tencent Music Entertainment Group, search engine giant Baidu Inc. and online car-trading platform Autohome Inc. The listings will add to what is shaping up to be a bumper year for stock offerings in Hong Kong after short-video company Kuaishou Technology’s wildly successful $6.2 billion IPO earlier this month.Internet pioneer Sina Corp. launched Weibo in 2009, swiftly amassing millions of registered users posting messages of 140 characters or less, and was listed on the Nasdaq in a 2014 IPO. Whereas Twitter is blocked in China, Weibo and other social media in the country are subject to state censorship.Weibo, which is backed by Alibaba, reported 511 million monthly active users in the third quarter. It faces competition for eyeballs and advertising revenue from fast-growing short-video platforms from ByteDance Ltd. and Kuaishou.(Updates to add U.S. trading in third paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Sequoia-Backed Grocery App Dingdong Maicai Mulls U.S. IPO

    (Bloomberg) -- Chinese grocery app Dingdong Maicai is considering an initial public offering in the U.S. as soon as this year to bankroll its expansion in the competitive fresh food delivery market, according to people familiar with the matter.The Sequoia Capital China-backed company is working with advisers on the offering, which could raise at least $300 million, the people said, requesting not to be named because the discussions are private.Deliberations are at an early stage and details including size and timeline could still change, the people said. A representative for Dingdong Maicai didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.Dingdong Maicai, which means “Dingdong buy vegetables” in Chinese, is competing in China’s crowded fresh food distribution sector, fending off rivals including Tencent Holdings Ltd.-backed MissFresh and platforms operated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Inc. Consumers sheltering at home during the pandemic have reinvigorated a once-difficult groceries arena, and Dingdong now needs ammunition to attack a Chinese online fresh foods sector that could reach 1.27 trillion yuan ($197 billion) by 2025.The Dingdong Maicai app, founded in 2017, delivers fresh products including vegetables, soy products, fruits and meat, according to its website. Its backers include General Atlantic, Bertelsmann Asia Investments, Qiming Venture Partners and Gaorong Capital, according to Crunchbase.Dingdong Maicai expanded aggressively last year, extending its operations to 27 cities including Beijing, Nanjing and Guangzhou, according to a local media report this month. The company receives more than 850,000 orders each day and has a monthly revenue exceeding 1.5 billion yuan, the report said, citing statistics provided by Dingdong Maicai.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.