Ged Carroll

Alibaba + more things

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

Alibaba lost ambition

Two interesting things have come out today on Alibaba: Alibaba moves closer to home with Hong Kong dual-primary listing | Financial Times – this is interesting because it implies that Alibaba either couldn’t remain in the US stock exchange with the new Chinese tiered data enterprise ruling: China plans three-tier data strategy to avoid US delistings | Financial Times or punishment of Jack Ma continues.

jack ma

Which means the only listings are likely to be old industry listings of state owned firms that foreign investors wouldn’t want to deal with anyway. The second one was: Alibaba scales back global expansion plan to rival Amazon | Financial TimesAlibaba.com’s US operation has failed to meet its initial targets, forcing the Chinese company to readjust its growth plans, according to three people familiar with the operations. The project has also been hit by dozens of staff departures from its New York office. The troubles at its US business-to-business arm come as Alibaba steps up its international push as its domestic operations continue to get hit by Beijing’s tech crackdown, slowing economy and rising competition. However, Alibaba.com has struggled to retain US sellers since its launch, in part down to the difficulty of competing with the prices of global merchants. “US manufacturers aren’t as competitive, the cost of everything is a lot higher including labour. The team do not have enough support internally, so they can’t get enough suppliers and sellers on board,” one current employee said – you could read this as the US is uncompetitive, or Alibaba only manages to sell on cost rather than value (quality, flexibility, after sales service don’t matter).

Business

Leicester garment factories still exploiting staff, study finds | Financial Times – not terribly surprising in Brexit Britain.

Aviation sector will be disrupted for years, Qatar Airways boss says | Financial Times“Covid has damaged the supply chain of the industry . . . I think that it will last for a couple of years — it is not going to go away tomorrow,” Akbar Al Baker told the Financial Times in an interview. Labour shortages in Europe, delays in aircraft deliveries from manufacturers and a lack of spare parts had all affected Qatar Airways, he added. – and this is without the problems that airports have faced in baggage handling etc. If aircraft deliveries were really an issue, why did Qatar pick a fight with Airbus?

Economics

Pakistan is in big trouble – by Noah Smith – Noahpinion – what happens when China stops writing cheques?

Finance

Henan protests highlight concerns over China’s rural banking sector | Financial Times – is this China’s equivalent of the 1990s Savings and Loans scandal that bedevilled the US?

Hong Kong

HSBC’s past may not help its future | Financial TimesThere is no place in the new Hong Kong for a pre-eminent bank which is not institutionally subject to the Chinese government. As China turns inwards, it makes sense for the ruling party to want its own financiers in command of a smaller standalone lender that will be well-capitalised, regionally-focused and prepared to serve national objectives, not global shareholders. The installation of a Communist party committee at HSBC’s Chinese investment banking subsidiary, reported by the FT, is a prelude of what is to come: a slow, patient strategy of small steps designed to make inevitable a break-up already determined on high in Beijing. That is why Ping An has fired the first shot in the final battle over the colonial legacy of Hong Konga place China has always called “a problem left over from history”. – the smart play would be to cut the PRC and Hong Kong business off from the rest of the network. While China is the growth engine, it relies on the rest of the network for this profitable wealth management business. Secondly, what will happen with Standard Chartered?

Ideas

Reviving Progress in the UK – there is an issue with the capital injection required by the plans outlined. Would anyone trust the UK government that they would be able to execute in a competent manner on the ideas? I think that the UK is suffering from a crisis of competence as much as anything else.

Japan

Majority of younger Japanese people in survey respect less than 30 percent of their old coworkers | SoraNews24 – crumbling social contract of salary men and the iron rice bowl

Legal

Sextortion: a Costly Hell for Celebs, CEOs, Sports Stars

Luxury

Cultural appropriation vs appreciation: Can luxury brands in China tell the difference? | Campaign Asia – a mix of things going on here. Poor executions of ‘Chinese-ness’ by western brands historically (I’m looking at you Burberry) and nationalism which has made consumers much more confident and intolerant – rather than cultural appropriation a la ‘African American hair’ style concerns.

Marketing

Best of the Week: Sorrell is a unicorn no longer; and Facebook pulled the rug on news again – good analysis of why S4 puzzled some of us industry veterans who had worked at Sorrell-era WPP of miserly pay rises, terrible IT equipment due to penny pinching and constantly lengthening periods between pay reviews

Media

Associated Press Aims to Drop the Term “Assault Rifle” from StylebookThe Firearm Blog – really interesting change towards more neutral language while the progressive media obsesses about the new SIG-Sauer MCX Spear which is similar in terms of lethal effect to the longer range rifles field during the first part of the cold war. These cold war era designs have been modernised and are available to gun owners across most of the US. The MCX Spear relies on a newer, harder to get ammunition. This ammunition is also harder to fill at home than existing formats like the earlier NATO 5.56mm and 7.62mmm rounds. Older weapons like the Heckler & Koch G3 are a bit heavier but offer a similar performance, yet you wouldn’t get this information from the progressive media. Regardless of your opinion on gun control, the facts matter.

“I HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE” | Campaign Monitor – Ad Contrarian on privacy and ad platforms

Retailing

Maybe We Don’t Need Groceries in 15 Minutes After All – The New York Times

Shein shed $30b in value since April, private bids show – not that surprising given how disposable has declined

Security

CNN Exclusive: FBI investigation determined Chinese-made Huawei equipment could disrupt US nuclear arsenal communications – CNNPolitics

Software

Revealed: Documents Show How Roblox Planned to Bend to Chinese Censorship

Taiwan

Taiwan’s ‘time machine’ house recreates, preserves memories of Hong Kong — Radio Free Asia – this is a really interesting project by Hong Kong expats, for Hong Kong expats based in Taiwan. The idea of collective memory and nostalgia also came through this piece here: Mementos of a vanished Hong Kong pile up at vintage second-hand store amid emigration wave – Hong Kong Free Press HKFP 

Technology

Beijing detains high-flying Tsinghua semiconductor boss, report says | Financial TimesZhao Weiguo, the former head of an expansive Chinese conglomerate with state backing and deep investments in the global technology sector, has been placed under investigation by officials in Beijing, according to local media. The 54-year-old, who led cash-strapped chipmaking giant Tsinghua Unigroup for a decade, has been out of contact after being taken from his home by authorities in mid-July, reported Caixin, a Chinese business publication.

Telecoms

Eutelsat to bid for OneWeb – eeNews Europe and interesting direct state involvement in the combined business UK and France to get board seats in planned Eutelsat and OneWeb tie-up | Financial Times