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The Chinese Government Reaction to Alibaba
As I write (the morning of Oct. 6...my ‘posting’ dates should be treated like a magazine’s issue date), China’s Alibaba has been trading for two weeks following the largest global IPO ever, $25 billion, after underwriters exercised the over-allotment option or “greenshoe” for extra shares.
The stock was priced at $68 and the first trade, Sept. 19, was at $92.70. That day it hit $99.70 and hasn’t been at that level since as it closed Friday, Oct. 3, at $88.10.
I have strong opinions about this company, which I have expressed (and will continue to going forward) in my “Week in Review” column.
But I thought it was important to get down for the record the initial Chinese government opinion of the company, courtesy of one of their official mouthpieces, The Global Times.
So following is an editorial from that paper after Alibaba went public, offered without further comment on my part.
China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba made its debut successfully on the New York Stock Exchange Friday, becoming the world’s second-largest Internet company after Google. The complicated structure of Alibaba and the hype by mainstream media outlets in the U.S. about its operation risks have failed to hold back global investors from chasing after its stocks. Its shares surged 38 percent on the first day of trading.
The growth of Alibaba is an unusual experience integrating China’s opportunity and national conditions with Western capital and the world’s confidence in the Chinese market. It has wielded a super influence upon the Chinese market and won the utmost confidence from the market. The impressive IPO, the biggest ever in U.S. stock market history, can be viewed as a union connecting Chinese society and the rest of the world.
The West also thinks highly of what China regards as quite promising. This is what the New York Stock Exchange told us on Friday.
The complexity of China can hardly be thoroughly understood by ordinary Western investors. Alibaba was preparing its IPO amid economic transformation in China. When the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange rang, people bet not only on bright prospects for the company, but also on the stability of China’s gradual market-oriented reform. The IPO demonstrates that the predictions of the West toward China are not as pessimistic as some media have reported.
There are two reasons why Chinese people have confidence in Alibaba. On the one hand, Alibaba is deeply rooted and also rises from the market; and on the other, the public has recognized that e-commerce represents the future. They are in increasing favor of marketized (sic) private enterprises and the high degree of market economization is affecting social confidence and resource allocation.
Now it seems that the rest of the world sometimes follows in the footsteps of the Chinese. China’s huge potential, developed with its own Chinese characteristics, is now making its mark, which may lead Westerners to redefine their attitudes in accordance with the wishes of Chinese people. Both Chinese and Westerners need to adapt to and accept the reality Alibaba displays and comprehend its predictions about the future.
Why Alibaba decided to list in the U.S., though a shallow and improper question, involves a healthy and active aspiration that is not contradictory with the general global trend. Alibaba represents an era of the development of China’s private Internet firms.
More support is needed for a new era. Chinese investors should not only play a major role in such feasts as Alibaba’s IPO but also possess the ability to share the prospects. Will Alibaba surpass Google and become the largest Internet company in the world one day? Perhaps. China now boasts more than 600 million Net users and Alibaba displays a more genial access for new users throughout the world.
Wall Street History returns in two weeks.