Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA) continues its bumpy ride on the New York Stock Exchange. BABA opened at $96.54 on Thursday morning (Jan. 19) trading, up from Wednesday’s close but down overall from Friday of last week’s (Jan. 13) noon high of $97.38.
BABA is currently trading the same as it did back in November 2016 following a drop from its year high above 100 in late September. While Alibaba’s value has regularly gone up and down like the tide due to currency-related pressure from the yuan in the second half of last year, a quick look at analysts’ projections for the company in 2017 show a generally mild to a positive outlook from investors and analysts.
Outside of stocks, Alibaba has started 2017 off strong and on the offensive, seeing its share of more than a few noteworthy (and newsworthy) developments.
First up, Alibaba continues to come down hard on counterfeiters after the company found its online marketplace on the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) annual Notorious Markets blacklist at the end of last year.
Now, China’s online retail giant has launched its official anti-counterfeit efforts in partnership with large international brands, with Mars, Samsung and Louis Vuitton among the 20 members of the Big Data Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance.
Alibaba had previously leveraged its own cloud computing capabilities in its Operation “Cloud Sword,” which the company said led to the arrest of more than 300 counterfeit gang member suspects in 164 investigations, seizing fake goods reportedly valued at 1.43 billion yuan ($207.2 million) in a joint operation with Chinese law enforcement.
This new alliance, however, will combine the technological capabilities of other major industry players.
“The most powerful weapon against counterfeiting today is data and analytics, and the only way we can win this war is to unite,” Alibaba’s chief platform officer, Jessie Zheng, said in a company statement. “With our robust data capabilities, we are confident the alliance will accelerate the digital transformation in our global fight against counterfeits.”
And the big moves just keep on coming.
Last week, Alibaba made its first acquisition move of the year, offering a 42 percent premium at $2.6 billion to acquire Intime Retail Group and take it private as part of a larger strategy to broaden its brick-and-mortar reach and counteract slowing online sales growth in its domestic market.
This week, Kommersant reported that Alibaba Group and Russian state-owned savings bank Sberbank of Russia may cooperate in a joint eCommerce venture potentially worth several billion dollars sometime in the first half of 2017.
The joint venture will likely look to capitalize on Russia’s growing cross-border eCommerce market and increasing trade routes between the two nations. PYMNTS and Alibaba Tracker will continue to follow this story as more details are released.
In the meantime, consumers stateside shouldn’t feel left out of the good vibrations between China and Russia. Jack Ma met with President Donald Trump last week to discuss expansion plans to the U.S., pledging to create 1 million jobs over the next five years.
On top of that, Alipay will be expanding its footprint in North America to gain additional payment revenue from Chinese nationals on vacation in the U.S. and Canada (and cutting back on their often high international transaction fees). More than 3 million Chinese consumers are projected to travel to North America in the coming year, according to data from the U.S. Travel Association.
Lastly, it’s that time of year once again. Alipay launched a new augmented reality game just in time for Chinese New Year. The game allows users to search for virtual red envelopes, called hongbao, which are traditionally gifted between family and friends during the Chinese New Year, and collect them. The game allows users to hide hongbao and send the receivers on a scavenger hunt to find them.
This time around, the digital hongbao come with international corporate sponsorship, with The Drum reporting that Coca-Cola, KFC and Procter & Gamble have all signed on to give away cash and vouchers to game users.
The game comes as an upgrade to previous endeavors by Chinese companies and other entities digitize hongbao. Last year, for instance, Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent and the Chinese Communist Party all got on board to try and get Chinese consumers to send their gifts digitally instead.