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Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder, admitted on Sunday that he had never once used Taobao, the ebay-like flagship website for the ecommerce company he will be taking public later this year, writes Charles Clover and Ma Fangjing.
The odd sounding admission came in the middle of a rambling commencement speech to graduates of Tsinghua University on Sunday, in which he highlighted his humble origins and lack of professional experience. He needs to keep his emotional distance from his products, he said, so that he can make decisions about them objectively. And that apparently means not knowing how they work. Read more
Fashion, just like the tech world, is borne from, reflective of and defined by the cyclical and cultural trends that continually evolve and adapt around it.
Both are businesses that are high-risk and tricky to be in, balancing books around supply and demand. But, more specifically, the real art that defines leaders from the pack is preemptively being able to guess what people want and need before they manage to recognize it for themselves. The best at this are making billions, both in fashion and tech.
But there’s one overlapping sector which both the titans of Silicon Valley and tastemakers of London, New York, Paris and Milan are still struggling to get en vogue.
Alibaba, which filed for its US IPO on Tuesday, is frequently called the Amazon or eBay of China. But while there may be similarities in their business model, the online shopping experience for customers can be quite different indeed.
Here, a look at some of the things one finds on Alibaba’s various shopping platforms, how they differ from each other, and some of the ways in which they are vastly different from their western counterparts. Read more
Alibaba on Tuesday submitted the first filing for its upcoming initial public offering in New York. Unusually for a private company, prospective investors already knew some of its key financial details, since Yahoo, its major shareholder, reports them as part of its quarterly results.
So what did we learn from the new filings? Read more
Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba made its long-awaited filing for an initial public offering in the US, a deal which could ultimately top Facebook’s debut two years ago with an estimated $120bn valuation.
FT reporters delve into the details with live reaction and analysis. Read more
Fridges that talk, watches that listen and thermostats that learn your secret domestic habits: these are some of the most visible examples of the so-called “internet of things” (or “IoT” for aficionados).
Cisco, the global computing hardware group, is a big supporter of IoT. It announced yesterday that it was increasing its investment in early-stage companies in the sector to $250m over two to three years, up from the $100m it announced in January. It also unveiled three minority investments: in the enterprise start-up accelerator Alchemist Accelerator, as well two IoT software start-ups, Ayla Networks and Evrythng. Read more
What a difference a month makes. When Box filed to go public in late March, hot tech stocks such as Google, Facebook and Tesla were trading at close to their all-time highs.
Now, the cloud storage company’s timing looks a little less fortuitous. A month after the “tech rout” began, the financial markets don’t look quite so welcoming to a fast-growing but heavily loss-making new listing, however ‘sexy’ its enterprise technology might be. Read more
Just weeks after internet security experts scrambled to patch up vulnerabilities exposed by the Heartbleed bug, a flaw has been found in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer software that is so serious the US department of homeland security is warning people and companies to avoid using the browser.
Should I be worried? Read more
Alibaba is taking a minority stake in China’s largest online video site, Youko Tudou, as it prepares for its own blockbuster initial public offering in the US.
Youko Tudou said on Monday that the Chinese e-commerce group, together with its founder Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital, would jointly invest $1.2bn in the video site.
Alibaba will hold 16.5 per cent stake in Youku after the deal, with Yunfeng holding 2 per cent. Read more
While older industries still struggle with the digital transition, those one step ahead are toiling with the mobile one. Read more
Twitter has announced the acquisition of Gnip – one of only two companies it originally gave access to the “firehose” of trillions of tweets – as the social media company pursues revenues through selling analytical services. Read more
The Heartbleed bug, a flaw discovered on encryption software used on about two-thirds of all websites, was created unintentionally, the programmer responsible has said.
Robin Seggelmann, a German programmer, described the flaw as the consequence of a “trivial” error in an update to OpenSSL, the software widely used to enable secure connections, writes Jeevan Vasagar. Read more
In an interview with the FT after Wednesday’s launch of Carousel, a new photo-sharing app, and a suite of other new products, Mr Houston didn’t even wait for the inevitable question about an initial public offering to address the topic.
“We will continue to surround the company with great advisors, board members and other folks who have public company experience,” he said. “I’m not worried about the tactical side of operating as a public company.” Read more
Want to hear a Silicon Valley joke? Two geek billionaires walk into a coffee shop and nobody notices.
There’s no punchline. This actually happened a couple of weeks ago when I was in Mountain View and the co-founders of WhatsApp popped into their local for a brew. Despite being full of start-ups, nobody in the Red Rock Café seemed to recognise the pair who had just sold their app to Facebook for upwards of $16bn.
WhatsApp has almost 500m active users around the world but many in Silicon Valley’s elite only discovered the chat app when Mark Zuckerberg opened his chequebook. It’s entirely possible that, in the past year, more people here have tried Google Glass, the sci-fi headset that most outside Silicon Valley love to hate, than sent a message on WhatsApp. Read more
The prospect of a US-based IPO by Chinese e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba has triggered a recent wave of short-term conjecture over the eye-watering figures involved.
A listing could garner as much as $25bn for example – making it the largest float in history. Wall Street banks could reap up to $400m in fees. Alibaba’s $170bn annual revenue now accounts for 2 per cent of China’s gross domestic product, and is bigger than those of eBay and Amazon combined.
The company, co-founded by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, is today unveiling Spanish language support and software in hopes of tapping into the purchasing power of America’s more than 50m Latinos. Read more