Alibaba is the world’s biggest e-commerce group. Founded by Jack Ma, it owns and its consumer-to-consumer business Alibaba Group is the owner of the South China Morning Post.


Chinese tech giants were winners during the pandemic
The global coronavirus pandemic may have been a disaster for the global economy, but it was a boon for China’s largest technology companies.  Tencent Holdings, the Chinese gaming giant and owner of WeChat, is flirting with a market value of US$1 trillion and has made its founder, Pony Ma Huateng, the second richest man in China.  The brand value of Alibaba, Tencent’s rival company, jumped by 108% to US$39.2 billion as the world’s second-fastest-growing brand, behind only Tesla’s 158% increase, according to a 2021 report by Brand Finance, a British consultant. “ has benefited from the unprecedented surge in demand, as consumers turned to online shopping during the pandemic,” Brand
How the coolest music company in China died
One of the coolest music start-ups in China, Xiami Music, simply couldn’t cut it and will close next month after management admitted it missed “crucial opportunities” in the battle with rival Tencent Music. Owned by Alibaba (which owns Inkstone), Xiami has become a cautionary tale of how a company can be beloved by the fans, but won’t be able to survive if it can’t attract the mass market.  It also marks an end of an era, harkening back to a time when the Chinese internet was less concerned about making money and more focused on building businesses with innovative ideas. Just a few years ago, Xiami was one of the top streaming platforms in China, but, in the time since, Tencent has grown to
Alibaba trounces Amazon in the world of high fashion
Amazon is the pre-eminent e-commerce company in the world, and its decades of supremacy in America have turned its founder Jeff Bezos into the world’s richest man.  But despite flirting with high fashion – the giant e-commerce company ran its first fashion advert in 2012 – Amazon clothing has been more “brandless fleece coat” than “embellished high-fashion catwalk.” Luxury fashion, almost uniquely among retail sectors, has been largely untouched by the online giant. Not for much longer – according to Amazon, anyway. In the US last month, the mega platform launched its latest bid for the luxury market with a glossy new designer section. Brands can create their own digital online boutiques wi
The wild and wacky things you could buy during Singles’ Day
E-commerce has always been a source for the strange and unusual. A man tried to sell his soul on eBay; someone paid $1,025 for Justin Timberlake’s leftover toast and a shop that sells odd goods attempted to convince people to buy a Chupacabra, a mythical creature that does not exist.  China’s Singles’ Day shopping festival is no exception.  The festival of consumerism is a shopping spree held on November 11 every year and was started by e-commerce giant Alibaba in 2009. It has since become a regional day of sales as brands from across Asia participate in the event.  Alibaba is the owner of Inkstone.  After each festival, many young Chinese would tease each other with an old internet meme, “H
The world's largest IPO has been suspended
China’s regulators have foiled the largest stock sale in global finance as they called a halt on the November 5 debut of Ant Group’s IPO on the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges, less than 48 hours before the highly anticipated start of trading. Some 1.55 million small investors in Hong Kong had pumped $167.7 billion into the initial public offering in a bid to get a slice of the shares. They will get refunds, which include brokerage commission and stock exchange trading fee, within this week, according to Ant’s stock exchange filing. A meeting earlier this week between Ant Group’s senior executives and China’s top financial regulators led to “significant change” to Ant’s business environment
What is Jack Ma’s Ant Group, the fintech giant set for the world’s biggest IPO?
Digital financial services giant Ant Group is on the cusp of pulling off the world’s biggest initial public offering and could be worth over $500 billion in the near future, riding on the digitization of financial services in the world’s second-largest economy. Ant’s coming out parade illustrates China’s lead in digital finance. Its super-slick mobile payment app, Alipay, has over 1 billion users, who can click on the Alipay app for services ranging from food deliveries to garbage collection. It is the world’s most popular app outside social-media networks. Ant plans to plough the $34.5 billion it is raising from dual listings in Hong Kong and Shanghai into future revenue drivers, such as bl
Jack Ma donates one million masks to America
The first shipment of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s donation of 1 million masks and 500,000 coronavirus test kits to the United States arrived in the US on Monday morning. The supplies, which will be distributed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), were purchased in China since its factories have gradually resumed production. The shipment of a second batch will depend on availability, said a spokesman at the Jack Ma Foundation. Ma is the co-founder of Alibaba, which owns Inkstone.  The US is facing a shortage of kits for diagnosing the deadly contagion, which has led to widespread criticism of the federal government for its slowness in preparedness and response.  Publ
6 differences between Chinese and American shoppers on ‘Black Friday’
The end of the year is a busy time for shoppers in two of the largest consumer markets in the world.  In China, consumers snap up billions of dollars of purchases on what is known as the Singles’ Day festival – effectively the country’s “Black Friday” – every year, feeding a seemingly insatiable appetite for online shopping.  They spent a record-breaking $38.4 billion on Singles’ Day, November 11, this year.  The same month, consumers in the US embarked on the yearly Black Friday shopping frenzy, the day after Thanksgiving. American shoppers have been known to elbow each other and even get into fights in their attempts to grab heavily discounted flat-screen televisions or Xbox gaming console
I just moved to Beijing. This is my experience with mobile payments
“You might not have to make that trip to the bank after all,” Rob, a friend, messaged me over WeChat the other day. He attached a press release saying Alipay had launched an international version of its mobile payments platform for visitors to China. Named “Tour Pass,” the app can be used for up to 90 days and could prove handy for me, as I had moved from Hong Kong to Beijing for three months just over a month ago. The last time I lived in Beijing, five years ago while studying at Peking University, cash was still currency, shared bikes did not exist and people did not have their morning Starbucks delivered via an app. Since then China has transformed into an almost cashless society at an ex
Will tourists in China wake up to mobile payments?
Last week, China’s main payment apps, Tencent’s WeChat Pay and Ant Financial’s Alipay, opened their mobile payment systems to a demographic that had previously been left out: international tourists.  In China, mobile payments are used to pay for almost everything from $0.25 steamed buns at a takeout joint to sending prisoners money, highlighting the huge gap that exists between this system and the payment habits of 140 million annual tourists from overseas, who may be more used to cash or credit cards. Inkstone is owned by Alibaba, whose affiliate Ant Financial operates Alipay.  But will providing access be enough to convert tourists to start scanning QR codes?  How does mobile payments work