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Alibaba’s digital payments arm, Ant Financial, is buying US-based MoneyGram for $880 million.

MoneyGram has about 350,000 outlets in nearly 200 countries while Ant Financial has more than 630 million users.

The takeover will need regulatory approval from the US Committee on Foreign Investment.

The inter-agency committee reviews foreign acquisitions of domestic American assets on grounds of national security.

Ant Financial CEO Eric Jing said in a statement that the marriage of the two companies will “provide greater access, security and simplicity for people around the world to remit funds, especially in major economies such as the United States, China, India, Mexico and the Philippines”.

Ant Financial has a big market share in the online payments industry in China. The acquisition could help the company extend the lead as well as expand overseas, as competition is growing in China with rival Tencent’s WeChat payment system.

Moneygram’s shares rose by nearly 9% on the news. The takeover has been approved by MoneyGram’s board of directors.

Ant Financial’s shopping spree in the United States comes against a backdrop of rising tensions between China and the world’s biggest economy.

Before he took office, Donald Trump was questioning whether the US should continue its “One China” policy, sparking fury from Chinese state media. During his presidential campaign, he threatened to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports.

However, Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of Alibaba, held a meeting with Donald Trump in December 2016.

While Donald Trump has been critical of China, he said he had a “great meeting” with Jack Ma, who chose to float Alibaba on the NYSE. The share sale in September 2014 was a record-breaker, as the e-commerce giant raised $25 billion in its initial public offering.

If the MoneyGram deal goes through, it will be Alibaba’s second acquisition in the United States. In 2016, Alibaba purchased EyeVerify in a $70 million deal.

EyeVerify is a start-up based in Missouri, which uses biometric authentication technology for securing user’s online data and transactions.

Alibaba looks set to smash the sales record for its annual Singles Day event.

About 12 hours into the event, sales had reached 82.4 billion yuan ($12.1 billion), the e-commerce giant said. Last year’s record was $14.3 billion.

However, some have questioned the accuracy of the numbers, amid claims of inflated sales data at online retailers across China.

Merchants passing off counterfeit goods as genuine is also an industry problem.

Alibaba reported 85% of purchases had been made on mobile phones during Singles Day.singles-day-2016

The website has also been experimenting with new technology including augmented reality and virtual reality to give shoppers other ways of buying items.

Singles Day had a blistering start with sales hitting $5 billion in the first hour, Alibaba said, though that total included pre-orders made by customers who could “lock in” prices.

It took 90 minutes to hit that milestone in 2015.

Singles Day is held every year on November 11. The day is also referred to as Double Eleven (11/11) because of its date.

Originally claimed as a celebration for China’s young singletons, Alibaba turned it into a shopping bonanza in 2009.

While Alibaba is undeniably the driving force behind the event, other retailers have also stared to piggyback off the idea, including extending the concept to Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Alibaba’s rival JD.com, which focuses more on electronics, reported receiving more orders in the first nine hours of trading on November 11 than it had done during the whole of Singles Day 2014.

Alibaba has broken its own record for sales on China’s Singles Day, the world’s biggest online shopping event.

The e-commerce giant said sales surpassed the record amount of $9.3 billion made last year in just over half the time.

Singles Day, also known as Double Eleven because it is held on November 11, has become a major annual event for Chinese retailers.

Alibaba said more than $1 billion was spent within eight minutes of midnight.

Within the first hour, Alibaba had made $3.9 billion in sales, almost double the amount spent in the same time period of the 2014 Singles Day.

In comparison, sales on Cyber Monday, which is the biggest online shopping day in the US, hit $1.35 billion, according to data analytics company ComScore.

Singles Day has grown tremendously since Alibaba began promoting it as a shopping day in 2009, and now includes many retailers such as rivals JD.com that stage sales promotions.

In 2015, Alibaba said there would be more than 40,000 merchants and 30,000 brands from 25 countries selling goods on its platforms.

More than 130 million users have already visited Alibaba’s marketplace app, Taobao, which exceeds the peak from 2014.

In the lead up to the event, Alibaba hosted a four-hour TV variety show featuring Chinese celebrities and Western entertainers such as Daniel Craig of James Bond fame.Alibaba Singles Day 2015

Kevin Spacey appeared as his character President Frank Underwood from the Netflix series House of Cards to wish shoppers a “happy Singles’ Day” in a two minute video.

Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang had said in a statement that the event would mean “the whole world will witness the power of Chinese consumption”.

He promised consumers “a new surprise every hour” over the 24-hour marathon, especially mobile users.

Alibaba said more than 27 million purchases came via mobile devices in the first hour.

Although its competitors offered attractive discounts, Fangting Sun, China-based analyst at market research firm Euromonitor International said that consumers’ attention was still focused on Alibaba’s online marketplace Tmall.com.

Alibaba accounts for more than 80% of China’s internet sales market.

It predicts that 1.7 million couriers, 400,000 vehicles and 200 planes will be making deliveries of products that range from electronics goods to cosmetics despite slowing growth in China.

Economists will be looking for clues about domestic consumption in Wednesday’s sales as China’s economy, the world’s second-biggest, heads for its slowest growth in nearly a quarter of a century.

Alibaba is investing $200 million into a stake in photo messaging application Snapchat.

That values Snapchat at nearly $15 billion and makes it one of the world’s most valuable start-ups after only 4 years.

Snapchat allows users to send text and picture messages which disappear in 10 seconds.Snapchat Alibaba deal

The tech company says its users send 700 million snaps daily, recently started generating revenue from advertising.

The $15 billion valuation puts the business in a league with taxi service Uber and Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone maker.

Alibaba has invested in a range of start-ups in China, but its portfolio in the US is relatively small.

The Chinese e-commerce giant has stakes in video call app TangoMe and Lyft, a competitor to Uber.

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Cheap Apple Watch copies are being advertised on Alibaba’s Taobao, China’s most popular online shopping service.

Taobao site lists devices branded the AW08 and the iWatch.

They both feature “digital crown” dials on their sides, similar-styled straps and identical user interface graphics to Apple’s forthcoming wearable.

However, their listings reveal they run on Google’s Android platform rather than Apple’s Watch OS.Apple Watch copy Taobao

Taboao acts as a showcase for third-party sellers – much like eBay and Amazon’s Marketplace service – and some vendors have taken pains to make clear that the devices they are selling are not Apple’s own technology.

The copycats first came to light in January, when a reporter from the news site Mashable discovered one being displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Other giveaways that the watches are not the iPhone’s official “companion” include:

  • They are being offered for about 258 yuan ($40) – a fraction of the 2,588 yuan that Apple will charge for its smartwatch in China when it goes on sale next month
  • They do not feature the same heart-monitoring sensors on their rear – although this is not always made clear
  • They boast longer battery life [youtube p1X8Vc5pfoU 650]


Alibaba will meet with investors next week as it considers issuing its first US bond sale.

The Chinese e-commerce giant has hired Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan to manage the sale.

Alibaba would offer dollar-denominated notes to institutional investors, the company said in a statement.

Alibaba considers issuing first US bond sale

Alibaba considers issuing first US bond sale

Reports suggest that Alibaba would sell $8 billion in bonds after its record public listing just two months ago.

News of Alibaba’s bond sale comes after it made $9 billion in sales on Singles’ Day in China this week, which is considered the world’s biggest online sales day.

In September, the company’s initial public offering in New York was the biggest in the world, raising $25 billion and its stock is up nearly 70% since then.

Alibaba will hold meetings next week in Boston, New York, Hong Kong, London and Singapore.

Moody’s has given the proposed bond an A1 credit rating.


Alibaba has sold $2 billion of goods in the first hour of China’s annual Singles’ Day (Guanggun Jie).

That compares with $3.1 billion in sales seen in the first half of last year’s event.

Singles’ Day is celebrated each year on November 11 (11/11). The date is chosen for the connection between singles and the number “1”. In recognition of the day, young singles organize parties and Karaoke to meet new friends or try their fortunes.

Singles’ Day is considered the world’s biggest online retail sales day. It compares with Cyber Monday in the US – the day after Thanksgiving also marketed as a big online shopping day.

Alibaba said it expected to break sales records during the annual event, offering big discounts to boost sales.

Singles' Day is considered the world's biggest online retail sales day

Singles’ Day is considered the world’s biggest online retail sales day

“I bet the number [of goods bought] is going to be scary,” said Alibaba’s executive chairman Jack Ma last week. He estimated that 200 million packages would be shipped from orders made during the day.

Last year, Alibaba shipped more than 150 million packages worth about $5.75 billion in gross merchandise volume.

Before midday on November 11, sales had already hit $4.9 billion, Jack Ma told official state broadcaster CCTV.

Singles’ Day in China was adopted by Alibaba in 2009 to boost sales, but dates back to at least 1993, when students at Nanjing University are believed to have chosen the date as an anti-Valentine’s Day where single people could buy things for themselves.

Since then, it has gone on to become a massive day of sales for China’s fast growing e-commerce market.

The market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 25% over the next few years, from $390 billion in 2014 to $718 billion in 2017, according to a recent study released by management consulting firm AT Kearney.

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Alibaba shares have been priced at $68, the top end of the range, in a sign of strong investor appetite for the Chinese e-commerce giant.

With trading starting on the New York Stock Exchange later on Friday, September 19, the share sale will raise $21.8 billion, making it one of the largest flotations ever.

It values Alibaba, which accounts for 80% of all online retail sales in China, at $167.6 billion.

That value surpasses such corporate titans as Walt Disney and Boeing.

The final amount raised from the sale could change, depending on the final allotment allocation. If underwriters exercise an option to sell more shares, the money raised could increase to $25 billion, beating the record listing held by Agricultural Bank of China. That flotation in 2010 raised $22 billion.

Alibaba operates a series of online marketplaces in China and elsewhere, handling more transactions than Amazon and eBay combined.

The company was formed 15 years ago by former teacher Jack Ma, who wants to use some of the proceeds to expand in the US and other markets.

Alibaba shares have been priced at $68 ahead of NYSE flotation

Alibaba shares have been priced at $68 ahead of NYSE flotation

Trading in Alibaba shares is expected to be frenetic in the early hours after the market opens. Many experts expect the share price to go higher once trading begins as institutions add Alibaba stock to their investment portfolios.

US search giant Yahoo, already a shareholder in Alibaba, is selling some $8 billion worth of its holding in the offering, leaving it with about 16% of the company.

Japan’s Softbank is not selling for now and will be left with a 32% stake, making it the largest single shareholder.

However, control will remain in the hands of Jack Ma and other company veterans. A group of 27 manager dubbed the “Alibaba Partnership” will have the power to nominate a majority of board members.

Regulators at the Hong Kong stock market objected to this structure, which resulted in Alibaba deciding to list in New York.

Alibaba says the arrangement will help it to preserve its innovative culture.

Jack Ma’s stake is reportedly worth about $14 billion, while the sale is expected to make millionaires out of a large number of the company’s managers, software engineers and other staff.

Alibaba acts as an online marketplace for wholesalers, retailers, and small businesses, and handles e-payments and financial transactions. The company has also branched out into cloud computing and instant messaging.

Alibaba has about 279 million active buyers visiting its sites at least once a month.

Online spending by Chinese shoppers is forecast soar over the next few years. And Alibaba has plans to expand into emerging markets as well as Europe and the US.

Alibaba made a profit of almost $2 billion in Q2 2014, with sales up by 46% year-on-year to $2.54 billion.

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E-commerce giant Alibaba has invested $215 million in free mobile messaging service Tango.

US-based Tango has 200 million users and the deal is expected to help China-based Alibaba strengthen its presence in the sector.

The mobile messaging service sector has seen robust growth in recent years and many leading firms have been keen to tap into its potential.

Alibaba has invested $215 million in free mobile messaging service Tango

Alibaba has invested $215 million in free mobile messaging service Tango

Last month, Facebook bought WhatsApp, one of the biggest players in the sector, in a deal worth $19 billion.

“The sheer power of free communication has changed the way we connect with others,” Uri Raz and Eric Setton, founders of Tango, said in a blog post.

“Today, the amount of texting from over-the-top messaging apps surpasses carrier SMS.”

Alibaba and Tango did not disclose the size of the stake the Chinese internet giant has picked up in the messaging service.

However, some reports indicated that the investment valued Tango at close to $1 billion.

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Online retailer Alibaba Group has announced plans for a flotation in the US.

The Chinese e-commerce giant said the move will make it “a more global company”.

The move had been widely predicted by analysts, who expect it to be the biggest share offering by a tech firm since Facebook’s flotation in 2012.

They predict that the listing will raise up to $15 billion.

However, Alibaba did not reveal when the initial public offering (IPO) would take place or on which exchange.

The move is expected to benefit Yahoo, which owns a significant stake in Alibaba and could see the value of its investment rise considerably.

Alibaba Group has announced plans for US flotation

Alibaba Group has announced plans for US flotation

“Alibaba Group has decided to commence the process of an initial public offering in the United States,” the firm’s statement said.

“This will make us a more global company and enhance the company’s transparency, as well as allow the company to continue to pursue our long-term vision and ideals.”

The news comes two days after another Chinese tech giant, Twitter-like service Weibo, announced plans for a $500 million US listing.

Speculation about a New York listing for Alibaba began last September, when the company abandoned plans for a stock offering in Hong Kong after talks with regulators broke down.

Alibaba’s management structure, which allows senior executives to retain control of the board of directors, fell foul of Hong Kong’s listing rules.

Alibaba Group is already the world’s largest online retailer, with more than 500 million customers and more than 800 million product listings.

China’s biggest e-commerce group Alibaba has bought an 18% stake in Weibo, China’s largest Twitter-like service, as it looks to tap into the fast-growing social media sector.

Alibaba will pay $586 million for the stake, valuing Weibo at over $3.2 billion.

The deal is expected to help Alibaba drive traffic from Weibo, which has more than 500 million users, to its e-commerce sites such as Taobao.

It will also help generate additional advertising revenue for Weibo.

According to the two firms, the partnership will bring in $380 million more in advertising and social commerce services revenue for Weibo over the next three years.

China's biggest e-commerce group Alibaba has bought an 18 percent stake in Weibo, China's largest Twitter-like service

China’s biggest e-commerce group Alibaba has bought an 18 percent stake in Weibo, China’s largest Twitter-like service

“We believe that this strategic alliance helps to create a stronger Weibo,” said Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba.

“It affirms our view of the vitality and importance of social media in unleashing value in e-commerce activities.”

China has become the world’s biggest internet market and it is expected to grow even further in the coming years as more people get access to the internet.

Alibaba, was one of the early pioneers in the sector in China and has benefited from this boom.

It offers various services, including Alibaba.com which connects businesses across the globe to Chinese manufacturers. It also runs online shopping sites for retail consumers in China as well as an online payment service Alipay.

Driven by its success, the firm has been looking to increase its dominance in the Chinese market.

Meanwhile, social media sites such as Weibo have seen tremendous growth in China in recent times and have become a powerful medium for consumers.

The two companies said their partnership will help them grow their respective businesses and that they will “cooperate in the areas of user account connectivity, data exchange, online payment and online marketing, among other things”.

“Weibo and Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms are natural partners,” said Charles Chao, chairman SINA, the parent firm of Weibo.

“Together we provide a unique proposition not only to existing online merchants, but also to individuals or businesses, who wish to offer products and services on social networking platform to take advantage of the traffic shift toward social and mobile internet.”

According to the deal, Alibaba will have the right to increase its ownership in Weibo to 30% at a mutually agreed valuation “within a certain period of time in the future”.

Pinterest clones have flooded China’s web world – only months after the original social photo-sharing website reached massive popularity.

Pinterest has recently surpassed 10 million users, in record time.

Copying it seems to be the latest cloning trend in China – a country known for copying the designs of everything from shoes and cars to iPads and tech start-ups.

Tech blogs say there are about 20 Chinese clones of Pinterest already.

Some copycats modify the original site’s design only slightly, while others go a step further.

Several have taken the basic idea of “pinning” and sharing theme-based photos a bit further, for example changing the interface to allow online shopping.

Tech blogs say there are about 20 Chinese clones of Pinterest already

Tech blogs say there are about 20 Chinese clones of Pinterest already

In China, locals joke that they have much more choice of products than in the Western world – and in a way, they do.

Local markets offer anything and everything that looks like the original version, but often with subtle differences.

And the online world is no stranger to cloning.

For instance, in 2011 copycats of a social network Tumblr were popping up here and there, with one of the most popular clones being Diandian.

Even a major Chinese Facebook clone, Renren, and China’s microblogging site Sina Weibo, dubbed a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter, launched their own Tumblr-type blogs – Renren Stations and Qing.

But in the second half of 2011, Pinterest clones started to emerge.

One of the most recent ones is Alibaba Group’s social shopping platform Fa Xian.

It was launched only four weeks ago in a test mode, but already has some 60,000 viewers a day.

Just like Pinterest, it lets users “pin” images of items on virtual pinboards, where others can then post comments.

But with a different twist, Fa Xian lets people shop, too – anything pinned on the platform is available for purchase through two Alibaba-operated websites, Taobao Mall and Taobao Marketplace.

Besides Fa Xian, two other Pinterest clones have proved a huge success in China – Mogujie.com and Meilishuo.com.

But instead of letting users “pin” images from anywhere on the web, they only offer content from China’s biggest e-commerce site, Taobao.com.

On Mogujie, visitors can buy items as well.

And just like sharing “pinned” Pinterest images on Facebook and Twitter, Chinese clones allow you to share on Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, another Twitter copycat.

There are other Pinterest clones that, just like the original website, do not allow users to shop and open the entire web space for “pinning” images.

They include Qihu 360’s, Woxihuan.com, Huaban.com and iCaitu.com.