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Thread: Jack Ma & Alibaba

  1. #76
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    What is happening to PRC moviemaking right now?

    Mar 15, 2021 11:21am PT
    Alibaba May Be Forced to Sell Media Businesses by Chinese Government (Report)

    By Patrick Frater


    Alibaba Group
    The Chinese government may order e-commerce to entertainment giant Alibaba to sell off or cut back its vast array of media assets. In addition to the company’s too-big-to fail status derived from activities that range from food retailing to electronic payments, China’s government has reportedly become concerned about Alibaba’s ability to influence public opinion.

    After government regulators drew up an inventory of the group’s media assets earlier this year, they have begun negotiations with Alibaba that may lead to disposal of some of its media businesses, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing anonymous sources.

    Alibaba’s media and entertainment portfolio is huge and diverse, though it is almost entirely focused on Greater China. The businesses range from print publishing to video streaming, and include minority stakes in social media firms, cinemas and film production companies.

    One of its most prominent overseas jewels is a minority stake of unknown size in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, bought in late 2016. Another is its majority stake in the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s leading English-language newspaper publisher, bought earlier the same year.

    In response to the report, Alibaba said in a statement: “The purpose of our investments in these companies is to provide technology support for their business upgrade and drive commercial synergies with our core commerce businesses. We do not intervene or get involved in the companies’ day-to-day operations or editorial decisions.”

    The vast majority of media in China is owned or controlled by the state at some level. That allows central authorities to direct news flow, emphasize favored topics, demonize enemies and exclude information and opinion that does not support Communist Party messaging.

    Social media, with its diversity and speed, is increasingly being seen as a challenge to the China government’s ability to speak with one voice. Over the years, social platforms have been required to do the government’s bidding by employing ever increasing number of staff to censor user comments and user-generated content.

    Despite companies’ compliance, Chinese authorities have also spent several months devising ways to rein in the country’s tech giants. Financial regulatory authorities halted the spinoff and IPO of Alibaba’s financial arm, Ant Group, in late 2020. They have also used the State Authority for Market Regulation to punish tech firms for unauthorized merger and acquisition activity, and in late December Alibaba was given formal notification of an investigation into alleged monopolistic behavior.

    Among Alibaba’s core media and entertainment businesses is Youku Tudou, one of China’s largest generalist video streaming firms. Its Alibaba Pictures unit, which has a separate share listing in Hong Kong, contains film production and distribution businesses as well as Tao Piao Piao, one of two companies that dominate cinema ticketing.

    Alibaba also amassed minority stakes in publisher Yicai Media (37%), video streamer Mango TV (5%), Twitter-like social media platform Weibo (30%), video entertainment group Bilibili (6.7%) and Focus Media (5.3%), China’s top online advertising network.

    It also has stakes in film studios Huayi Bros. Media, Bona Film Group, film financier Hehe Pictures and exhibition chains Dadi Cinemas and Wanda Pictures. Those investments have often appeared to be at the behest of Chinese authorities as a means of using Alibaba’s massive financial strength to shore up the country’s entertainment sector, which is huge but remains in its industrial infancy.

    Alibaba shares are listed in ARD form on the New York Stock Exchange. The company has a secondary listing in Hong Kong. The conglomerate’s market capitalization was around $620 billion on Monday.

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    Gene Ching
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  2. #77
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    More disputes

    Wonder how Jack is doing...

    MARCH 29, 202112:04 AM UPDATED 2 DAYS AGO
    Alibaba-backed Energy Monster caught in legal dispute ahead of U.S. listing
    By Samuel Shen, Josh Horwitz

    4 MIN READ


    SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Energy Monster, China’s biggest mobile device power bank startup backed by Alibaba and SoftBank, is embroiled in an ownership dispute that could further cloud a Nasdaq flotation already buffeted by new U.S. regulations to delist foreign companies.


    FILE PHOTO: The logo of Alibaba Group is seen at its office in Beijing, China January 5, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo
    Two Shanghai-based venture capitalists are pressing a case through both U.S. and Chinese courts against Energy Monster Chief Executive Guangyuan Cai, claiming he reneged on a deal to give them a joint 3% stake in the business.

    Energy Monster, which rents out power banks, or charging stations, for use by customers in Chinese shopping malls, restaurants, bars and other public places, filed earlier this month for an initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq.

    The company has not yet set a date for the anticipated $300 million IPO but a discovery filing by Yiming Feng and Sicheng Yin, partners at Atom Venture Capital, in the United States last week described it as “imminent”.

    Feng and Yin initially filed a lawsuit in China in January, arguing they played a critical role in the conception and development of Energy Monster but Cai reneged on the equity transfer promise, Feng told Reuters.

    Seeking to bolster their claims, Feng and Yin last week applied for and won a U.S. court order authorizing them to obtain information “related to the 3% equity agreement”, from Citigroup Global Markets Inc and Goldman Sachs & Co LLC, the IPO’s underwriters.

    The petition document filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said the information “will help (the) petitioners prove their claims in the Chinese litigation.”

    “We are very pleased that the Court granted the requested discovery,” Michael Carlinsky, a managing partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, who represents Feng and Yin, wrote in an e-mailed statement to Reuters.

    Energy Monster, Citi and Goldman declined to comment. Cai, who owns 6.6% of Energy Monster, did not respond to a request for comment.

    In its March 12 IPO application, Energy Monster said Cai was advised by his China litigation counsel that the plaintiffs’ claims “are baseless and frivolous”, and the CEO is “contesting the claims vigorously”.

    The legal challenge adds to headwinds for Energy Monster’s IPO, after the U.S. securities regulator last week adopted measures that would kick foreign companies off American stock exchanges if they do not comply with U.S. auditing standards. Those enhanced powers triggered a sell-off in U.S.-listed Chinese companies.

    Energy Monster’s IPO filing cautioned “there can be no assurance that Mr. Cai will be able to prevail in the lawsuit or that he will be able to settle the lawsuit on terms favorable to him.”

    “An adverse ruling could have a materially adverse effect on our reputation, capital structure, business and financial condition,” it said.

    VIE STRUCTURE
    The claim against Energy Monster centres on a 3% stake in Shanghai Zhixiang Technology Co Ltd, which is ultimately controlled by Energy Monster’s listing vehicle, Cayman Islands-registered Smart Share Global Ltd.

    Chinese technology firms seeking a U.S. listing typically use a variable interest entity (VIE) structure, where an overseas listing vehicle controls onshore operations through contractual agreements, to skirt regulatory hurdles.

    Feng said that if he and Yin secure the 3% stake in Shanghai Zhixiang, they could potentially disrupt the VIE structure.

    “If the VIE structure is broken, where is the legality of listing?” Feng told Reuters.

    A unit of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is the largest shareholder in Energy Monster with a 16.5% stake while SoftBank subsidiaries hold 7.7% of the company, according to the IPO filing.

    Reporting by Samuel Shen and Josh Horwitz
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #78
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    Hupan Academy

    PRC is really after Jack.

    APRIL 8, 2021 11:23 PM UPDATED 10 HOURS AGO
    China halts new enrollments at business school backed by Jack Ma: FT
    By Reuters Staff

    2 MIN READ


    FILE PHOTO - Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of China's Alibaba Group, speaks in front of a picture of SoftBank's human-like robot named 'pepper' during a news conference in Chiba, Japan, June 18, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/File Picture
    SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Beijing authorities have forced an elite business school backed by Alibaba Group Co Ltd founder Jack Ma to halt enrollments, the Financial Times said on Friday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

    The clampdown on the school, founded in 2015 by Ma to train China’s next generation of entrepreneurs, comes as his business empire faces government scrutiny.

    Hupan Academy, based in the city of Hangzhou, where Alibaba has its headquarters, suspended a first-year class set to begin in late March, the newspaper said.

    Alibaba and Hupan Academy did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

    Tuition for the three-year program amounts to 580,000 yuan ($88,500.98). Students listed in the incoming class of 2019 included executives from Keep, a successful Chinese exercise company, and fast-growing domestic chip firm Horizon Robotics.

    The school is among the initiatives launched by Ma related to education, a sector the erstwhile English teacher has committed to since stepping down from his role as Alibaba’s chairman in 2019.

    The enrollment halt comes amid Beijing’s crackdown on Ma’s businesses. Late last year Ant Group, a financial affiliate of Alibaba, abruptly suspended a planned $37 billion IPO in Shanghai following pressure from the authorities.

    The botched listing came after Ma made comments in public criticising China’s financial regulators. He has yet to make a public appearance since, save for a brief 50-second video clip broadcast to a group of teachers.

    ($1=6.5536 Chinese yuan renminbi)

    Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Clarence Fernandez
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #79
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    $2.75 billion

    PRC is really after Jack.

    APRIL 11, 2021 12:24 AM UPDATED 12 HOURS AGO
    Record penalty for Ma's Alibaba marks tumultuous stretch for its founder
    By Tony Munroe

    5 MIN READ

    BEIJING (Reuters) - Once seemingly untouchable, Alibaba founder Jack Ma has endured a tumultuous run that saw his Chinese e-commerce giant hit with a record 18 billion yuan ($2.75 billion) antitrust fine on Saturday, resolving one key uncertainty even as others persist for himself and his business empire.


    FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Jack Ma, billionaire founder of Alibaba Group, arrives at the "Tech for Good" Summit in Paris, France May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo/File Photo
    The reversal of fortune for the 56-year-old Ma, who has all-but-disappeared from public view since an October speech blasting China’s regulatory system, has been striking for an entrepreneur whose transformation of commerce in China - and his relentless optimism - commanded cult-like reverence.

    Ma, who stepped down from Alibaba in 2019 but looms large in the corporate psyche and in the eyes of investors, had revelled in pushing boundaries with audacious statements, taking a high profile even as most Chinese peers kept their heads down.

    Friends in high places, as well as pride in Alibaba’s success, had protected Ma, sources have said.

    That was until his Shanghai speech triggered a backlash that led to the scuppering of a blockbuster $37 billion IPO for Alibaba financial technology affiliate Ant Group, as well as a clampdown by authorities on the e-commerce giant itself and the wider “platform economy”, which continues to reverberate.

    Ant, whose rapid growth and freewheeling lending practices drew regulatory concern about financial risk, remains subject to an enforced restructuring that is expected to rein in some of its most profitable businesses and slash its valuation.

    “Entrepreneurship has to be disruptive. But being provocative to the government has its limits,” said Duncan Clark, chairman of Beijing-based tech consultancy BDA China and author of a book on Alibaba and Ma.

    Saturday’s settlement, he said, “should draw a line” under the matter for Alibaba.]

    “But for Ant and Jack, there’s no line drawn yet,” he said.

    Alibaba declined to comment on Ma, and his foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

    CONSPICUOUS ABSENCE
    Ma’s absence from public view became conspicuous until he surfaced for the first time in three months in late January, speaking to a group of teachers by video, which sent Alibaba shares surging. He has continued to keep an extremely low profile.

    “He’s playing a lot of golf and improving his handicap,” said one person who knows him.

    A former English teacher, Ma co-founded Alibaba in 1999 from a shared apartment in the eastern city of Hangzhou, ultimately building a colossus that spans e-commerce, financial services, cloud computing and even supermarkets, making him China’s most famous businessman.

    He was also China’s richest, until the clampdown knocked him back to fourth place on the Hurun Global Rich List published in March, although Ma and his family’s wealth still grew last year by 22% to 360 billion yuan, according to the list.

    As of last July, he owned 4.8% of Alibaba.

    In 2018, Ma was revealed to be a Communist Party member by its official newspaper, debunking a public assumption that he was politically unattached.

    ‘ARROGANCE DISCOUNT’

    Ma has often been described in Chinese media as a source of national pride and even legend. His global prominence made him an almost-diplomatic figure. Countless books have been published on Alibaba’s founding and Ma’s business tactics.

    Ma-isms such as “Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine”, are common in Chinese business circles. In Hangzhou, small firms have been known to set up altars adorned with images of Ma to bring good fortune.

    But in a February snub, Ma was left off a list of Chinese entrepreneurial leaders published by state media.

    Franklin Chu, president of Sage Capital in Rye, New York, noted that Alibaba shares are trading at a 30% discount to their 52-week high.

    “I call this the ‘Jack Ma arrogance discount,’ combined with the recent round of China-bashing coming out of Washington,” he said.

    Alibaba, he said, “needs to work hard to re-establish an accommodative relationship with its regulatory handlers.”

    Since stepping back from the company, Ma has sought to focus his time on philanthropy and education, including his charitable trust, the Jack Ma Foundation, and two schools in Hangzhou.

    Ma was an active conference participant, making at least 12 appearances in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic began. In March 2020, he opened a Twitter account - the platform is blocked in China - which mainly tweeted about his foundation’s COVID-19 prevention efforts. Its last tweet was on Oct. 10.

    “It’s crucial for Chinese entrepreneurs to be low-key. Don’t speak casually. And don’t say anything wrong,” Edward Chen, chairman of Shanghai-based fintech consultancy China Rising Group, said in a social media video post.

    “Prudence in words and action is the No. 1 priority so that Chinese entrepreneurs can live longer.”

    ($1 = 6.5522 Chinese yuan renminbi)

    Reporting by Tony Munroe in Beijing, Brenda Goh, Samuel Shen and Josh Horwitz in Shanghai, Kane Wu in Hong Kong and Ross Kerber in Boston; Editing by Kim Coghill
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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