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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

September 19, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Vote: Is Alibaba a threat to Amazon?

Shares in Alibaba Group surged as high as $99.70 today in its NYSE debut after its initial public offering was priced at $68. At $200 million, it will make the Chinese e-commerce company one of the most valuable in the U.S. market. Significantly, it will be a higher market value than Amazon, whose stock also surged today.

Alibaba consists of numerous online portals to everything from retail to payment services for consumers and businesses, with a commanding presence in China’s fast-growing e-commerce sector. It is big — including in profits. Alibaba also has a cloud computing unit. Significantly, it is privately held and not state owned.

Hype over Alibaba is huge. So are comparisons with the company making such a big difference in Seattle’s economy. This Forbes columnist is betting on the Chinese giant. Business Insider laid out why Alibaba is a “serious threat” to Amazon. But comparisons are risky. The two companies have different business models. Alibaba makes much of its money from advertising.

What do you think?


This Week’s Links:

Silicon Valley’s contract-worker problem | NY Mag

GDP growth hasn’t translated into income gains for most Americans | NYT Upshot

New research says world population won’t plateau in 2050, but keep booming | MIT Technology Review

Comcast: This is what a monopoly looks like | Vox

How a nation’s soil explains its economic fortunes | The Atlantic

American attitudes on international trade | Tim Taylor

Could fighting climate change be cheap and free? | Paul Krugman

In praise of China’s new normal | Project Syndicate

The people’s corporations | Lucy P. Marcus


 

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Russia’s gone too far

Retaking its empire, fine

Now it wants our Pabst


 

Follow me on Twitter @jontalton — you won’t be bored.


 

Comments | More in Amazon.com | Topics: Alibaba

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The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


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