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from Breakingviews:

Alibaba hints at overseas push with SingPost stake

By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Alibaba hasn’t even completed its U.S. initial public offering, but already it is striking out overseas. A $249 million stake in logistics group Singapore Post targets one area where the Chinese e-commerce group may be able to apply its talent. But the concrete benefits of the deal are unclear – besides focusing investors’ attention on the potential value of growth outside the People’s Republic.

Alibaba doesn’t deliver the 11.3 billion orders that go through its sites, instead working with a network of 14 of the mainland’s biggest express shippers. Alibaba gives them information on everything from order volumes to warnings on bad weather to help parcels reach buyers more efficiently. It’s self-serving, since without timely delivery, shoppers might not come back to its Taobao and Tmall sites. But the model could win friends in other developing markets with fragmented shipping like Brazil.

SingPost doesn’t obviously need such help, but for Alibaba, forging friendships in southeast Asia still makes sense. Local Chinese-speaking communities can already use existing websites, and the group wants to create local Taobao marketplaces in Singapore and Malaysia. The latter has a young population, two-thirds of which already has broadband access according to the National IT Council. Just 2 percent of Alibaba’s consumer retail revenue in the nine months ending December last year came from outside China.

from Breakingviews:

China web giants take the fight offline in 2014

By Robyn Mak

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Remember when every offline company was desperate to become an online one? In China, it’s happening the other way round. The country’s internet giants are making forays into traditional industries, from logistics to consumer electronics. The pace will increase, but what starts as disruption could turn into overreach.

from Breakingviews:

China’s shipbuilding supertanker will turn slowly

By John Foley

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

In 1433, China abandoned its costly maritime ambitions, forfeiting for centuries its chances of oceanic dominance. It is unlikely to make the same mistake again. While the tribulations of China Rongsheng show that the country’s modern shipping industry is in trouble, a sector with such strategic and symbolic importance can stay afloat long after its financial appeal has run dry.

from Breakingviews:

Hong Kong dockers’ pay sets tone for future strife

By Peter Thal Larsen

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

Hong Kong’s port strike is over, but the tensions that sparked it remain. Dockers are feeling the squeeze of Hong Kong’s rising living costs, while port operators face challenges from China’s slowing and shifting economy. Labour relations look set to stay tense.

from Business Traveller:

Why City + Airport = the Future

United Parcel Service aircrafts are loaded with containers full of packages bound for their final destination at the UPS Worldport All Points International Hub. REUTERS/John Sommers II

United Parcel Service aircrafts are loaded with containers full of packages bound for their final destination at the UPS Worldport All Points International Hub. REUTERS/John Sommers II

It’s no longer ok to be a big city. Globalisation is Darwinian and only the hubbiest of hubs will survive. If we want best-of-the-planet goods to arrive the next morning, we must worship the airport.

from DealZone:

Deals du Jour

Wall Street banks and lawyers could collect nearly $1 billion in fees from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and American International Group to help manage and break apart the insurer, the Wall Street Journal said, citing its own analysis.

The following M&A related stories were reported by Reuters and other media on Thursday:

from Shop Talk:

Wal-Mart on the move

bentonvilledistributioncenterMoving goods quickly and efficiently is key to Wal-Mart's low-price strategy. On Thursday, Reuters got a first-hand look at the discounter's Bentonville, Arkansas, distribution center that serves as a prototype for any new general merchandise distribution centers the company will add.

"Logistics is the lifeblood of Wal-Mart," said Kevin Jones, a Wal-Mart regional vice president, who underscored that several of the world's biggest retailer's chief executives, including Mike Duke, Lee Scott and David Glass, led logistics operations earlier in their careers.

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