REUTERS: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) and its finance affiliate accelerated a drive to be a full-fledged Chinese online financial network, with the launch on Thursday of an e-commerce tracking stock index and plans for a June start of an internet bank. (more…)
FORBES: How a Russian investor Yuri Milner established his “gold-mining machine” (firm DST) and why he believes that the future belongs to Asia. China lifted Milner up from ranked 35 to 20 in the Forbes ranking of the best investors. Investments in Alibaba and smartphone vendor Xiaomi opened Yuri Milner’s way to the Forbes’ top 20 investors. In the past year the entrepreneur preferred China to the US.
TECHINASIA: Yesterday at Cebit in Hanover, Alibaba founder Jack Ma took the stage to wax philosophical on entrepreneurship and the future of technology. While he oozed charisma on stage, the real treat came at the end of his address. After noting how online payments can sometimes be troublesome, the founder took out his smartphone and paid for a set of stamps on Alibaba using face-recognition technology (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Wiper, a chat application designed to provide users with control over their sent and received messages, recently rolled out support for bitcoin transactions between its users. The tool is simple, allowing individuals to send cryptocurrency to others inside the app’s main chat interface. But CEO Manlio Carrelli told TechCrunch that Wiper was “removed from the iOS App Store in China due to violating that app store’s policies,” and that “Apple [had] explained to [the company] by phone that this violation was related to Wiper enabling bitcoin payments.” (more…)
BLOOMBERG: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. plans to invest in Snapchat Inc., the mobile application for sending disappearing photos, at a valuation of $15 billion, people familiar with the situation said. China’s biggest e-commerce company intends to invest $200 million, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.
TECHCRUNCH: Snapchat, one of the ten most popular instant messengers in the world, has raised $200M from Alibaba Group and Saudi Arabian investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal at the valuation of $19B. Alibaba’s only weakness against its traditional rival – Chinese Tencent – is the lack of a strong position in the messaging market. With this investment (as well as the investment of $215M in Tango messenger last year) Alibaba is trying to strengthen its position in the market by diversifying assets and insuring itself against the negative effects of the growing popularity of instant messengers as a means for communication, shopping, financial transactions, etc.