EXPLAINER: What drives high-profile disappearances in China
The disappearance of tennis star Peng Shuai in China following her accusations of sexual assault against a former top Communist Party official has shined a spotlight on similar cases involving political dissidents, entertainers, business leaders and others who ran afoul of the authorities.
Jack's back: Chinese e-tycoon ends silence with online video
FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2018, file photo, Chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma speaks during a seminar in Bali, Indonesia. The normally voluble Ma disappeared from public view after he irked regulators by criticizing them in an Oct. 24 speech at a Shanghai conference. In his October speech, Ma complained regulators had an antique “pawnshop mentality” and were hampering innovation, according to Chinese media. In the video Wednesday, Ma, wearing a blue sweater over a white T shirt and gray trousers, smiled and waved to viewers. It included a scene the video said showed Ma visiting a school supported by his foundation on Jan. 10.
China criticizes US order against dealing with Chinese apps
A card displaying QR codes to pay electronically with WeChat Pay and Alipay sits on a vendor's table at a farmer's market in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. China is accusing Washington of misusing national security as an excuse to hurt commercial competitors after President Donald Trump signed an order banning transactions with payment services Alipay and WeChat Pay and six other apps. Tuesday's order escalated a conflict with Beijing over technology, security and spying accusations that has plunged U.S.-Chinese relations to their lowest level in decades. Trump’s order cites unspecified concerns about apps collecting Americans’ personal and financial data and turning it over to China’s communist government. WeChat Pay is operated by rival tech giant Tencent.
Where is Jack Ma, China's e-commerce pioneer?
FILE - In this May 15, 2019, file photo, founder of Alibaba group Jack Ma arrives for the Tech for Good summit in Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)BEIJING – China’s best-known entrepreneur, e-commerce billionaire Jack Ma, made his fortune by taking big risks. That has prompted a flurry of speculation about what might happen to Ma, China's biggest global business celebrity and a symbol of its tech boom. “The Jack Ma Era is ended,” wrote a blogger under the name Yueyue Talks Technology. Jack Ma dresses up in a leather jacket, sunglasses and wig to perform rock songs at Alibaba's annual employee festival in a Hangzhou.
China steps up pressure on Alibaba with anti-monopoly probe
Chinese regulators on Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020 announced an anti-monopoly investigation of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, stepping up official efforts to tighten control over China's fast-growing tech industries. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)BEIJING – Chinese regulators on Thursday announced an anti-monopoly investigation of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, stepping up the ruling Communist Party’s efforts to control fast-growing tech industries. The ruling party says anti-monopoly enforcement, especially in tech industries, will be a priority next year. “Reports of platform monopoly problems are increasing by the day,” the ruling party newspaper People's Daily said in a commentary about the Alibaba probe. Alibaba said revenue rose 30% over a year earlier in the three months ending in September to 155.1 billion yuan ($23.4 billion).
Closer look by Beijing at group buying and big tech
Chinas market regulator will increase scrutiny and regulation around the community group buying industry in China, summoning some of its largest tech companies involved to discuss the matter as it looks to eradicate anti-monopoly practices in the industry. In a statement on Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2020, Chinas State Administration for Market Regulation said it had held a meeting with six internet platform companies, including e-commerce firms Alibaba, JD.com and Pinduoduo, to discuss the regulation of community group buying. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati, File)HONG KONG – China is ramping up its scrutiny of the practice of community group buying, summoning some of the nation's largest tech companies for discussions as part of an anti-monopoly push. Community group buying allows groups of people living in the same town or region to buy groceries and other items in bulk at a discounted rate, a growing practice that is being facilitated by big tech companies. The Administration for Market Regulation also warned against illegally collecting and using customer data.
Debut of Chinese e-finance giant derailed by fear of risks
In this Friday, Oct. 23, 2020 photo, the figure of Ant Group's mascot is displayed at the Ant Group office in Hong Kong. In an unusual move, it was due to trade in both Shanghai for mainland investors and in Hong Kong for international buyers. Alipay was split off from Alibaba in 2011 and evolved into Ant Group. “This reminds us of how unpredictable China is,” said Au Yeung, who works in finance in Hong Kong. Zhang Yuan, a bank employee in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, said she paid 34,400 yuan ($5,100) for 500 shares of Ant Group.
Market debut of Chinese e-finance giant Ant Group postponed
In this Friday, Oct. 23, 2020 photo, the figure of Ant Group's mascot is displayed at the Ant Group office in Hong Kong. Ma also founded Alibaba Group, the world's biggest e-commerce company by sales volume, which spun off its Alipay payments service to create the company that became Ant Group. “Views regarding the health and stability of the financial sector were exchanged,” Ant Group said in a prepared statement. In a joint statement, the Chinese central bank, securities regulator and other agencies said Monday they had “regulatory interviews” with Ma, Ant Group chairman Eric Jing and president Hu Xiaoming. It was renamed Ant Group ahead of its stock market debut.
Here's why Ant Group is about to shatter IPO records
The world's largest fintech company, China's Ant Group, will try to raise nearly $35 billion in a massive public offering of stock that would shatter records. To tap both Chinese and global investors, Ant Group is listing its shares both in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Even before announcing its IPO plans, Ant Group was the world’s most valuable fintech company, with a valuation of $150 billion after a 2018 fundraising round. “Ant Group is much more than PayPal which only processes financial payments. Alibaba, which currently owns a third of Ant Group, spun off Alipay in 2011.
Prince William, David Attenborough launch 'Earthshot' award
In this undated handout photo issued by WWF on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, British Naturalist Sir David Attenborough, sits with Prince William for a private outdoor screening of his upcoming film, David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet, at Kensington Palace, London. William, who has been immersed in environmental issues all his life, said the same resources used to tackle the coronavirus pandemic should be devoted to saving the natural world. “According to the experts, it really is the point of no return," he told Sky News. “It’s a matter of great urgency now.”William also spoke about how his seven-year-old son, Prince George, is getting concerned about what's going on in the world. He said his son was left so saddened by an Attenborough documentary about extinction that he told his father “I don’t want to watch this anymore."
SoftBank's Son leaves Alibaba board following Ma's departure
Son, the chief executive of Japanese technology company SoftBank Group Corp. said Thursday, June 25, 2020, that he is stepping down from the board of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)TOKYO Masayoshi Son, the chief executive of Japanese technology company SoftBank Group Corp., said Thursday that he is stepping down from the board of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Last month, Alibaba founder and Chinese billionaire Jack Ma left SoftBank's board. Earlier, SoftBank announced three new board members, including SoftBank Chief Financial Officer Yoshimitsu Goto and Waseda University professor Yuko Kawamoto. He is also chief executive of Cadence Design, a U.S. electronic design automation software and engineering services company.
The Latest: India reports nearly 10,000 new virus cases
(AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)NEW DELHI: India reported a new rise of nearly 10,000 coronavirus infections Wednesday, with a total caseload of 276,583, the fifth highest in the world. The Health Ministry confirmed 9,985 new cases and 274 deaths in the last 24 hours. The figures from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday brought national totals to 11,902 cases and 276 deaths. ___BEIJING With much of the country re-opened under safety measures, China has announced three new confirmed cases of coronavirus, all brought from outside the country. China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths among 83,046 cases of COVID-19 since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
China's companies emerge as global donors in virus pandemic
Ma's foundation also is giving ventilators, masks and other supplies in Africa, Latin America and Asia. The pandemic marks the debut of China's business elite as global humanitarian donors alongside their American, European and Japanese counterparts. Ma, Alibaba and other Chinese companies and tycoons are donating hundreds of millions of dollars of medical supplies, food and cash in dozens of countries. American companies including Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. have given medical supplies and money in Africa, India and Latin America. The company provides free online medical and psychological counseling services worldwide.
SoftBank racks up losses as Vision Fund investments plunge
Japanese technology company SoftBank Group Corp. racked up a loss of 961.6 billion yen ($9 billion) for the fiscal year through March, on red ink related to its Vision Fund investments, including troubled office space-sharing venture WeWork. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)TOKYO Japanese technology company SoftBank Group Corp. racked up a loss of 961.6 billion yen ($9 billion) for the fiscal year through March, on red ink related to its Vision Fund investments including troubled office space-sharing venture WeWork. Tokyo-based SoftBank had reported a profit of 1.4 trillion yen the previous fiscal year. SoftBank announced three new board members, including SoftBank Chief Financial Officer Yoshimitsu Goto and Waseda University professor Yuko Kawamoto. Also Monday, SoftBank said it was buying back its own shares, of up to 500 billion yen ($4.7 billion) in value, to shore up its bottom line.
Alibaba's Jack Ma quits board of Japan's struggling SoftBank
TOKYO Chinese billionaire Jack Ma is stepping down from the board of SoftBank Group Corp., as the Japanese technology company struggles over its risky investments such as office-sharing venture WeWork. Tokyo-based SoftBank announced Ma's resignation Monday, ahead of releasing financial results. SoftBank announced three new board members, including SoftBank Chief Financial Officer Yoshimitsu Goto and Waseda University professor Yuko Kawamoto. He is also chief executive of Cadence Design, a U.S. electronic design automation software and engineering services company. Ma, who joined the SoftBank board in 2007, has a close relationship with SoftBank founder and Chief Executive Masayoshi Son.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma challenges Floyd Mayweather to fight
In a video posted to Twitter Sunday, Philippines boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and Alibaba founder Jack Ma challenged Floyd Mayweather to a fight. "Floyd Mayweather, if you want a real fight, fight me. He then calls them "The Real Manny Team," an apparent play on a lifestyle brand founded by Mayweather, The Money Team. Ma retired from the Chinese e-commerce giant last month, saying he wanted to pursue his other passions, like education. Yet while Ma is clearly in shape, a Mayweather fight is a different matter entirely.
Jack Ma retires from Alibaba
HANGZHOU, China - Jack Ma, the billionaire who ushered e-commerce into China, is officially stepping down as Alibaba's executive chairman on Tuesday. After two decades building Alibaba into a $460 billion business, Ma is now pivoting full time to philanthropy. "Jack has been signaling for some time his interests in philanthropy, environment, women's empowerment, education and development," said Duncan Clark, the author of "Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built." The eager teacher"Before I'm 70 years old, I can do something in other fields, in areas like education," Ma said at an Alibaba event last September. A Communist Party member, Ma is China's most famous entrepreneur and with a fortune of nearly $40 billion the country's richest man.
Alibaba will reportedly delay its second listing in Hong Kong
HONG KONG - Alibaba has delayed plans to list its stock in Hong Kong, according to Reuters. The Chinese tech company already trades publicly in New York, but was reported to have been considering a second listing that Reuters said could raise as much as $15 billion. The news organization cited two anonymous sources who attributed the decision to postpone the listing to "the lack of financial and political stability" in Hong Kong. Alibaba decided to list in the United States five years ago after negotiations with Hong Kong broke down. Hong Kong is still the best place for Alibaba to list, said Kenny Tang, chief executive of investment firm Royston Securities.
Alibaba will let American companies sell on its site
ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty ImagesHANGZHOU, China - Alibaba said Tuesday it is opening up the Alibaba.com platform, allowing American companies to sell their products to small- and mid-sized business buyers around the world. That will help Alibaba better compete with Amazon and Shopify, which already have a thriving marketplace for large companies to sell to business customers across the globe. Previously, American businesses could buy only on the Alibaba.com platform. "So we are interested in building an ecosystem of relationships and companies that are helping US small businesses be successful." Opening a Chinese e-commerce platform to American businesses at a time when isolationist economic policies are on the rise may seem surprising.
Alipay investing $145 million to grow women's soccer in China
iStock/liveslowHANGZHOU, China - China's national women's soccer team just got a big boost from online payments app Alipay. It is the biggest investment in women's soccer in China ever, according to Alipay. Alipay wants to bring "technology, funds and resources to better support the development of women's soccer in China," a spokesman for the company said on Monday. Gianni Infantino, president of global soccer's governing body FIFA, said the organization will double it for the next women's World Cup in 2023. The company wants to be the "strongest advocate" for China women's soccer, CEO Eric Jing said in a statement Friday.