Internet billionaires new power brokers in China
High-tech companies vow to take to the world stage this year
China is set to take the world by storm - and not through outdated Cold War tactics. Colorful Internet and high-tech businessmen are vowing to take to the world stage in 2014, and seduce the civilized world with gadgets and apps.
Alibaba is now being used more often by global exporters around the world. Alibaba sets to profit as trade becomes ever more global and online.
Alibaba is now being used more often by global exporters around the world. Alibaba sets to profit as trade becomes ever more global and online. The company predicts that Chinese e-commerce will be worth more than that of the United States and European Union combined by 2016.
"Increasingly, we're finding markets that were only buyers are increasingly suppliers too," James Hardy, head of Europe for Alibaba.com says.
"Some decide on a strategy and then look for data to support it. Others, like Alibaba, look at data - both internal and external - and only then make strategic decisions about growth and market opportunity.
"The decision for us to enter the Russia and Brazil markets was the product of analyzing external data and combining it with extensive internal data."
Alibaba occupies a highly unique niche. While other Chinese billionaires have built online empires that closely resemble Google or Twitter, Alibaba has no equivalent in the West, as both Amazon and eBay target consumers.
Wall Street is desirous for new technology stocks and would love to get its hands on Alibaba. The company's third-quarter revenues were up 60 percent, to $1.73 billion. In the same period its profits more than doubled, to $717 million, more than twice what Facebook makes on roughly the same sales. PrivCo, an investment research firm specializing in private companies, reckons Alibaba is "conservatively" worth $110 billion, which would catapult Ma to the top of China's rich list.
Another company from the east, Xiaomi, is a three-year-old smart-phone maker that counts the Russian billionaire Yuri Milner among its investors. Producing high-end devices that compete with the iPhone for the attention of wealthy young Chinese.
Xiaomi's smart-phones are cheaper than Apple's, but they are not cheap to make. Xiaomi sees itself as an internet company striving to capture customers for its services, in the mold of Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet business.
Xiaomi founder Lei Jun, confidently announced that he aims to more double sales this year to 40 million handsets.
As announced on Lei's Sina Weibo account, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, is run by another of China's technology elite, Charles Chao. Already listed on Nasdaq, Sina's shares doubled last year on the growth of the service, which claims 600 million users, not far short of Twitter.
Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, has predicted it will play a major role in a gradual democratization of the country. "You simply cannot imprison enough Chinese people when they all agree to something. You won't be able to stop it even if you don't like it," he said.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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