Breakingviews

Indian e-tailer’s funds will disappear in a flash

August 19, 2015

Online marketplace Snapdeal is raising $500 mln from investors led by Alibaba and Foxconn valuing it at $5 bln. Securing more big-name backers is a coup for the Indian start-up. But the huge discounts it offers to lure buyers and sellers means the new funds won’t last long.

Google learns ABCs of conglomerate life

August 11, 2015

The web search giant is separating cars, balloons and such from its main ad businesses under a new Berkshire Hathaway-like structure called Alphabet. The move suggests Google sees how its sprawl spells trouble. It’s an easy way to erase some, but not all, the valuation discount.

China hits the brakes on financial disruption

August 4, 2015

The central bank is cracking down on the $2 trln online payments market. Proposed transaction limits and stricter security rules would help traditional banks at the expense of online players Alibaba and Tencent. It’s a reminder that, even in China, tech innovation has its limits.

Twitter’s mealy-mouthed strategy is hard to follow

July 29, 2015

Interim boss Jack Dorsey said the micro-blogging site isn’t satisfied with just a 66 pct increase in Q2 revenue. His prescription for what ails Twitter, however, is cryptic. Companies that can’t express goals clearly, especially ones seeking a CEO, reduce chances for success.

Breakdown: What’s driving China’s latest web boom?

July 20, 2015

The newest buzzword is O2O, or “online to offline”. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are racing to connect half a billion smartphone users to local services, from taxis to takeaways. There’s huge growth – but this is an expensive battle. Breakingviews offers a download.

China’s rout may disrupt online finance pioneers

July 16, 2015

Regulators have targeted Hundsun, an $8 bln trading-tech firm backed by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, over the market crash. Internet finance in China flourished in legal grey areas. If official attitudes are hardening, it will be riskier and pricier for Ma and peers to innovate.

China taxi apps speed towards subsidy showdown

June 29, 2015

Local taxi-hailing app Didi Kuaidi is raising up to $2 bln less than a month after rival Uber said it will invest $1 bln in the People’s Republic. Both are racing for market share by spending heavily on subsidies for drivers. The question is whose investors lose patience first.

SoftBank’s $1 bln Korean deal needs to travel well

June 4, 2015

The Japanese giant has added a stake in South Korea’s Coupang to its portfolio. It’s a big bet on a young company in a relatively small country. The online retailer is leading the shift to mobile shopping. SoftBank may need to export its expertise to justify the investment.

Tencent’s discount to Facebook harder to justify

April 7, 2015

The Chinese social media giant generated about the same revenue as its U.S. counterpart last year and was more profitable, despite having fewer users. Yet it trades at a lower multiple of earnings. As the two business models converge, the valuation gap needs a rethink.

Alibaba deal spree strains its financial strength

March 24, 2015

The e-commerce giant barely explained its recent investments in an Israeli venture capital fund or U.S. chat app Snapchat. Similar purchases absorbed 75 pct of Alibaba’s operating cash flow in 2014. Though its core business is robust, returns on the new ventures are uncertain.