Alibaba’s Amazon Killer?

As if Amazon and eBay needed more reasons to worry about Alibaba—which might also be getting frighteningly tight with Apple—founder Jack Ma said Thursday (Nov. 20) that Alibaba is creating an international version of Taobao, it’s E-Commerce marketplace, to serve shoppers in several languages, including English, Reuters reported.

“Alibaba currently has an internationally oriented business-to-business e-commerce platform called Aliexpress, but does not have a similar offering for consumers to sell to each other,” the Reuters story said. “Ma made the comments on the sidelines of a meeting in China’s eastern city of Hangzhou between China’s Premier Li Keqiang and Chinese and foreign Internet industry leaders. The meeting coincided with the World Internet Conference, being held over three days in the town of Wuzhen.”

During the conference, Ma also raised some eyebrows on social media when he blamed “greedy” shoppers for the flood of cheap counterfeit products crowding E-Commerce sites, which is an especially intense problem in China.

“If you want to buy a Rolex for Rmb25 [$4], you can only be blamed for being too greedy,” Ma said, according to a Financial Times report. “Many people say that Taobao and Alibaba is full of knock-offs, but those who say that have basically never shopped on Taobao. Do you think we could achieve Rmb6.7bn in sales daily if the internet were full of counterfeit products?” he said, adding that consumers have the “power of judgment.”

Alibaba on Thursday will also sell its first-ever bond, a mammoth trade that will bring in about $8 billion, according to a report from CNBC, which also said that the initial indications of interest for the bond were about $10 billion.

“It is looking to sell up to seven tranches, including five fixed-rate bonds ranging from three to 20-year maturities and two floating-rate notes with three and five-year maturities, which bankers and investors expect to be the most sought after of the year. Alibaba’s high Single A ratings will help as the company pitches itself as a comparable to blue-chip names like Oracle, Amazon and Cisco, rather than its lower-rated Chinese internet peers Tencent Holdings and Baidu,” the CNBC report said. “Active book-runners Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan are gauging investor interest at initial price thoughts of 80bp over Treasuries for the three-year fixed, 110bp over for the five-year, 135bp over for the seven-year, 150bp over for the 10-year and 175bp over for the 20-year.”