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China's Alibaba Interested In Buying Yahoo

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the maybe-they'll-have-cuter-jingles dept.

Businesses 56

jfruhlinger writes "Alibaba is a company that most Americans probably haven't heard of, but it's a hugely important Internet player in China, owning the Yahoo! China site as well as a host of other marketplace Websites. It's 40 percent owned by Yahoo, but now, in what seems a bit like a snake eating its own tail, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma has declared his interest in buying the embattled Internet portal outright." The San Francisco Chronicle has a Bloomberg News article with more details; they report that Alibaba is actually one of three parties looking into a joint bid for Yahoo, the others being the equity firm Silver Lake and Russian tech investor Digital Sky Technologies.

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I'm confused (1)

Daetrin (576516) | about 3 years ago | (#37600616)

they report that Alibaba is actually one of three parties looking into a joint bid for Yahoo, the others being the equity firm Silver Lake and Russian tech investor Digital Sky Technologies.

So how's the joke supposed to go now? "In capitalist Russia, Chinese employee buys YAHOO!"?

Re:I'm confused (3, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37600742)

they report that Alibaba is actually one of three parties looking into a joint bid for Yahoo, the others being the equity firm Silver Lake and Russian tech investor Digital Sky Technologies.

So how's the joke supposed to go now? "In capitalist Russia, Chinese employee buys YAHOO!"?

In Soviet China Yahoo searches for YOU!

perhaps a snake extracting its tail (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 years ago | (#37600636)

Alibaba's been interested in buying back the Yahoo-owned portion of the company for a while, and with Yahoo's current stock price and the success of Alibaba, just buying Yahoo might be a reasonably cost-effective way to buy itself back.

Please no (2)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | about 3 years ago | (#37600638)

Alibaba's main business is to try to connect no-name chinese manufacturers with distributors elsewhere. The site is garbage. If you thoughtYahoo was bad before... *shudder*

Re:Please no (1)

NevarMore (248971) | about 3 years ago | (#37600714)

I hit Alibaba.com and it didn't look that bad. No worse than any other generic or broad commerce site like Craigslist or eBay or Amazon.

Re:Please no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37601366)

It does look pretty simple on the main page. The trouble is that every single item on their site makes it to search engine results when you're looking for something.

So instead of finding a part you want at digikey or mouser, you get an email form for protracted negotiations with a chinese distributor providing 400,000 of a vaguely similar widget, who will send it to you by container ship sometime in July.

Probably fine for some people, but it's an annoying mess that gets in the way for everyone else. Though I don't blame them, I blame the search engines.

Re:Please no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37603074)

I'm sure that was the target market they're aiming for, no?
Foreign dummy brands who need cheap stuff with their logo on to sell expensively in the west.

Re:Please no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37603482)

They're a bit broader than that. There's plenty of perfectly good companies there too. I've bought a couple of things through Alibaba and got very good results. Just avoid the dodgy looking suppliers the same as you would on EBay.

Re:Please no (1)

hackwrench (573697) | about 3 years ago | (#37603472)

But just try buying anything on Alibaba Express. You won''t get it.

Re:Please no (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 3 years ago | (#37601626)

Mod up! Alibaba is nothing more than search engine pollution.

Thanks for the reminder. Just added it to my hosts blockfile. :)

APK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37603140)

Did someone say... HOSTS files?

Re:Please no (1)

sydneyfong (410107) | about 3 years ago | (#37607204)

You wouldn't believe how much crap the Chinese people tolerate on web sites.

Between the slow spyware ridden browsers, IE6-only Javascript errors, malfunctioning ad popups, and general poor user interfaces etc., they somehow manage to use those sites.

It's amazing.

Re:Please no (1)

satuon (1822492) | about 3 years ago | (#37610512)

That actually sounds like a very good idea - a wholesalers' ebay so to speak.

Jack Ma is a swindler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37600922)

Didn't Jack Ma try to dupe Yahoo and Softbank by transferring Alipay to himself for free? The guy is a swindler. Silver Lake and DST are better off leaving him out of any deal.

Re:Jack Ma is a swindler (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about 3 years ago | (#37601012)

Well, Ali Baba did hang around with a bunch of thieves. If that doesn't set the alarm bells ringing I don't know what would.

Re:Jack Ma is a swindler (1)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | about 3 years ago | (#37602118)

Ali Baba was actually the nemesis of the titular band of thieves [wikipedia.org] . He stole from the cave in which they stored their gold by eavesdropping and learning the password ("open sesame").

His clever slave-girl managed to kill the thieves when they came in search of vengeance.

This is all off-topic, just noticed that you were clearly unfamiliar with anything other than the title of the story you referenced. Similar to claiming, "Indiana Jones's HQ is the Temple of Doom, after all, so we shouldn't be surprised that Jones Widget Corporation (based in Indiana) has poor hiring policies."

Re:Jack Ma is a swindler (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about 3 years ago | (#37605722)

In my defence I haven't heard/read/seen the story in well over 30 years. And accuracy would have been even more appropriate, since Ali Baba was both a thief (though not one of the 40, he just stole from them) and a slave owner, so fair call.

Re:Jack Ma is a swindler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609098)

If only you could have checked your assertion first on the "Internet".

Are there any other topics with which you are only passingly familiar but on which you would like to hold forth? How about knitting?

Sell off America (2)

koan (80826) | about 3 years ago | (#37600962)

I noticed several brand names I associate with "America" are now owned by some one else, I wonder if selling off Yahoo would the loss of all the American jobs hired there.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/08/american-brands-in-foreig_n_755900.html#s152955&title=Budweiser [huffingtonpost.com]

But hey what's in a name right.

Re:Sell off America (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37601084)

I noticed several brand names I associate with "America" are now owned by some one else, I wonder if selling off Yahoo would the loss of all the American jobs hired there.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/08/american-brands-in-foreig_n_755900.html#s152955&title=Budweiser [huffingtonpost.com]

But hey what's in a name right.

Before the 1960's the largest foreign holders of property in America were the Netherlands.

In the 1970's people (particularly where I lived) were alarmed when the Saudis came in and began buying obscure local banks, companies and properties.

In the 1980's the Japanese were buying up golf courses, movie studios, huge ranches, you name it.

Now the Chinese are looking to buy and people are getting worried all over again.

I'll only worry when they make a bid for the State of California.

Re:Sell off America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37601176)

I'll only worry when they make a bid for the State of California.

The Chicoms are too smart to make a bonehead move like that.

Re:Sell off America (2)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37601450)

The Chicoms are too smart to make a bonehead move like that.

Yeah, the last thing the Chinese need is for their country to be flooded with Communists.

Re:Sell off America (1)

koan (80826) | about 3 years ago | (#37601546)

Yes but you can't really move a building or a golf course, Internet companies can have their physical servers anywhere, so why would you buy Yahoo and keep all the American fat when you can easily transition to a well educated and cheaper workforce in China?

Re:Sell off America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37601966)

[W]hy would you buy Yahoo and keep all the American fat when you can easily transition to a well educated and cheaper workforce in China?

This: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1989

Re:Sell off America (1)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37602004)

But fat uneducated Americans deserve jobs!

Re:Sell off America (1)

koan (80826) | about 3 years ago | (#37602422)

My view on what is "deserved" has changed quite a bit, no one really "deserves" anything in the truest sense, you want that land? Can you hold it? You want that job? Can you work it?

Some one had to hold the land, some one had to make the law, some one had to enforce it, and some one had to tell you you deserve something.
But in reality with out the prior being true then your deserving and your rights are not true and certainly not the reality of life (try explaining your rights and what you deserve to a hungry tiger).

Slap all the civilization paint on this jalopy you want when it's all said and done Mother Natures rule still applies.

Let me know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37601016)

...when the Chinese buy Google or Microsoft. Yahoo is dead in the water anyway.

No (1)

glrotate (300695) | about 3 years ago | (#37601088)

Too much sensitive information is foolishly saved by these free email services.

The U.S. will not allow such a sale to proceed.

Re:No (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 3 years ago | (#37601336)

Nothing a few bribes or lobbyists won't fix.

If the RIAA/MPAA have proven anything, The US government is for sale to the highest bidder.

The "Occupy Wall Street" thing might change things but only if they go totally "muslim spring".

Re:No (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 3 years ago | (#37601656)

"The U.S. will not allow such a sale to proceed."

+5 Funny!

Hooray for hypocrisy! (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 3 years ago | (#37601136)

Of course the ironic thing is that China absolutely forbids any foreign company from owning any decent % of a Chinese internet firm, but they seem to have no qualms with a Chinese firm buys a foreign internet firm. Sort of like how all protectionism is bad according to Hu Jintao, except for Chinese protectionism of course which is good and despite the fact that he criticizes other countries' trade policy, said Chinese protectionism should not be criticized by anyone else.

Re:Hooray for hypocrisy! (2)

Niac (2101) | about 3 years ago | (#37601202)

That isn't hypocrisy. It's self-interest. Their policies are internally consistent: they desire a strong China. Not permitting foreign investors, and permitting local investments to be made in foreign markets makes for a strong China. Not that I agree with it, mind you. But that's how it appears.

Why is it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37601998)

...that is Chine does it, it is "self-interest", yet if we do it, it is "protectionism"? Why the double standard from you?

Re:Why is it... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 3 years ago | (#37603286)

Because this is an economic practice that only works when you're a developing country with a consumer base that foreign companies are drooling over to get access to. This practice will die once the Chinese market matures, because foreign companies will either be there already, or will have decided against entering it.

Re:Hooray for hypocrisy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37601356)

do you blame him ? i dont. he is doing what is best for his country. when has a US politician ever stepped forward and done that ? think about who you vote for.
why is it the chinese are always considered bad even when they are working to push their country forward ? watching too much US propaganda on TV ? cut back on your idiot tube watching.

Re:Hooray for hypocrisy! (2)

hackingbear (988354) | about 3 years ago | (#37601552)

Actually what you said isn't quite true. Alibaba, along with most top Internet companies in China, are technically foreign companies. The holding companies are registered in Cayman Island and Bermuda; the operating subsidiaries are Chinese companies. These companies all have foreign investors including Silicon Valley venture capital. Alibaba, for example, is still 40% owned by Yahoo. Softbank also owns a big trunk.

The Chinese government's intend is to protect the market from foreign companies which have had huge financial powers; if unrestricted, these greedy foreign companies will just grab over the whole market when the domestic players were still young and vulnerable and Chinese people will stuck in low end manufacturing forever without marketing power.

But lawyers know how to work around the Chinese rules, like they do to US laws. So very often, those rules are ineffective in practice.

Re:Hooray for hypocrisy! (1)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37602016)

That's strategy, not irony.

Re:Hooray for hypocrisy! (1)

satuon (1822492) | about 3 years ago | (#37610546)

I've heard that Yahoo owns 40% of Alibaba.

Yahoo Target Market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37601364)

Strangely just before this story broke I was wondering why Yahoo comment posts seemed to be overrun with trolls (I'll avoid why type of trolls, since it isn't relevant to my question).

It makes me wonder. Can a site be brought down by trolls, or is it that a dying site is simply the natural habitat for trolls? Comments?

Yahoo? Serious? (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 3 years ago | (#37601588)

How are they at all relevant anymore?
OK, I like flickr.
And I guess some people still use yahoo groups. old people

looks like half the services they used to provide are defunct [wikipedia.org]

I was robbed on Alibaba (1)

ravenswood1000 (543817) | about 3 years ago | (#37601464)

Don't think that them getting Yahoo is a good idea.

Me too! Alibaba is horrible to use (1)

witherstaff (713820) | about 3 years ago | (#37602102)

Alibaba, and a number of other sites like them, are horrible to do business with. Yes, it can be done. However even contacting the 'gold member' sellers that are supposed to have factories and company physically checked by alibaba often leads to failures to get the same offers they list on the site. If you can't find someone that will use an escrow, you ARE going to get ripped off. If you want a standard commodity then that's doable. If you want something tech oriented it can be a nightmare.

I recently was looking for a specific product and tried to find a seller on alibaba, newer-ish tech product. I found a valid looking gold member vendor, thought things were good, wired money... and never heard from the people again. So I wrote that off as me being stupid and not using an escrow. I found a few dozen companies that were all gold member rated (A paid service of Alibaba to verify the seller) and contacted them. My demands were simple, I wanted the listed minimum order and wanted to use the escrow which their listing also said they would do. Then a funny thing happened, I started getting 2 or 3 times as many emails back than I sent. Most from domains that had only been registered in the past few months, but they had my original RFQ information. None of the original companies responded, I can only imagine they're legit "fronts" to get the gold member star and employees either outright divert RFQs to another sister company, or do it without management knowing. I spent hours and could not find a single one that would do an escrow so I knew I'd be screwed. Thinking it was me, I went to a friend who is fluent in chinese and works in the tech industry and is living overseas. His advice was the service attracts those who think profit at all possibilities and has no qualms about outright defrauding the customer. In a nutshell it's an international craigslist with no buyer protection and more than likely you will get screwed.

The one place that may work is the aliexpress. It's a store front with multiple vendors and alibaba itself handles the transactions, and can pay with credit card. That does give you some buyer protection but pricing is nowhere near as attractice as the normal alibaba

This is such a bad idea (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 3 years ago | (#37601514)

but I'm not quite sure for whom. Let's just say everybody.

I'm in your server, reading your mail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37601540)

The first thought that hit me was:

If Yahoo becomes a fully Chinese owned company, do I really want to keep using my @yahoo.com address for email . . . . .

Re:I'm in your server, reading your mail (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 3 years ago | (#37602072)

There are people who still use Yahoo Mail?

Not so weird. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37601560)

About 10 years ago I was building my own audio gear and I needed a bunch of PC board mount RCA jacks. I wanted high quality and the only ones I could find we either junk or $25+ EACH. After digging around onthe web I found a Chinese company called Jim Rich Precision that looked like they had some promising stuff. I sent them an email and found some excellent jacks for $1.86 each. So I ordered 100 with an international money order. Two weeks later I got a large padded envelope with 100 excellent RCA jacks.
If Alibaba can facilitate these types of transactions, more power to them!

What does this mean for Yahoo Sports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37601758)

The only thing I use Yahoo for now is the sports page. Will it now read Ping-Pong, Figure Skating, Judo, Other?

Am I dreaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37602600)

I thought Alibaba was one of the Arabian Knights, and he had 40 thieves.

Time to find a new email host... (1)

Tasha26 (1613349) | about 3 years ago | (#37602804)

I think history speaks for itself. You don't want a Russian, Arab or Chinese buyer for your personal email account. Better say goodbye to privacy.

Re:Time to find a new email host... (1)

Scarred Intellect (1648867) | about 3 years ago | (#37603058)

Hell, these days you don't even want an American in charge of your information (facebook, google, anybody?) Not to imply that Americans are any more or less trustworthy than anybody else, I'll leave that argument aside for now.

I like google, but they DO definitely track my stuff, I'm STILL seeing Tire ads show up 2 weeks after I quit shopping online for tires...

One just cannot trust anybody with one's private information, brings to mind the old adage "Three people can keep a secret, if two of them are dead." In this case, history does indeed speak for itself, but it is not anything as current as privacy on the internet, it's as timeless as secrets in general.

Re:Time to find a new email host... (1)

Scarred Intellect (1648867) | about 3 years ago | (#37603082)

This just came to mind as I'm tracking a UPS package from Canada...I wonder if UPS tracks everything they've ever sent to me...location, store type, declared value (if applicable), etc.

Re:Time to find a new email host... (1)

satuon (1822492) | about 3 years ago | (#37610580)

That's why I'm glad I'm using gmail.

Alibaba used to be the illicit drug superstore. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37603398)

Back in 1999? We ordered a 55 gal drum of ketamine off of alibaba for $1000. Received it just fine, passed customs declared as glucose based bath salts. Madison WI was rolling in the Special K for a few years, and suffice it to say that this worked out to be VERY profitable for us.

Off-topic but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37603704)

Ali Baba is from 1,001 Nights (I think). We got to know about them thru Spain (under Arab domination for 7 centuries) (I think).

Ok, this is 2011, globalization, yadda, yadda... but I'd like to know if these classic works somehow got to be known inside China (and how?)

Just out of curiosity...

Alibaba? Noooo!. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37603784)

They are the tide of spam flavored chaff that occludes the delicious wheat of well sourced parts. Yeah these switches look great, but I don't really want to buy 10,000, pay in advance, and then deal with a 6-8 week lead time (and that's if they prioritize your order)

Dealing with the Chinese is painful at the best of times, having google return 100 pages of results from Alibaba (and similar) when your looking for a specific part is like desperately looking for a dentist to have a tooth pulled, and finding a city full of men with hammers offering to smash the whole lot out if you pay them cash up front.

And to think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37610966)

....that Jerry Yang could have taken all those billions from MS and his shareholders would have been happy. Yahoo's stock price hasn't ever recovered....Yahoo's usage has been going down...and if a Chinese company buys it, expect even more users to abandon Yahoo.

Way to go Jerry!

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