Despite a several years-long run of making some massive acquisitions, Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma says that 2017 will be a bit different. Ma noted that this year, Alibaba is looking to do a lot less buying and a lot more collaborating.
“I am not interested in acquisitions. I am more interested in partnerships,” Ma said at a news conference on Alibaba’s Olympic sponsorship deal, when he was asked about his company’s plans for the year. “We want to look for partners and empower them to be powerful.”
Ma’s enthusiasm for pairing up likely comes from the big announcement at the World Economic Forum in Davos where Alibaba and the International Olympic Committee told the world that the Chinese e-commerce giant will become the official “Cloud Services” provider for the Olympics.
And will hold that position for some time — since the deal runs through 2028 and will give Alibaba a crack at the next three Asian Olympic games (South Korea in 2018, Japan in 2020 and China in 2022).
The deal will also see Alibaba becoming a high-level Olympic sponsor — alongside household names like Coke, McDonald’s and Visa.
While Alibaba wouldn’t say how much the sponsorship cost, the Financial Times has estimated it may be as much as $600M for the lifetime of the deal — which would break down to $100M paid by Alibaba per every Olympic meeting through 2028.
So partnerships are cheaper than acquisitions, but not by much.