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Tech We’re Using: To Cover China, There’s No Substitute for WeChat

How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Li Yuan, a technology columnist in Hong Kong, discussed the tech she’s using.You write about Chinese tech. What tech tools do you rely on to do your job, and what do you like about them?It’s not an exaggeration to say I live in and work on WeChat, the messaging app that’s the equivalent of WhatsApp plus Facebook plus PayPal plus Uber plus GrubHub plus many other things. As my iPhone battery use record shows, I spend about one-third of my daily nine-hour phone time on WeChat. That doesn’t include the two…

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Jack Ma, China’s Richest Man, Belongs to the Communist Party. Of Course.

HONG KONG — Jack Ma, China’s richest man and the guiding force behind its biggest e-commerce company, belongs to an elite club of power brokers, 89 million strong: the Chinese Communist Party.The party’s official People’s Daily newspaper included Mr. Ma, executive chairman of the Alibaba Group and the country’s most prominent capitalist, in a list it published on Monday of 100 Chinese people who had made extraordinary contributions to the country’s development over the last 40 years. The entry for Mr. Ma identified him as a party member.It may sound contradictory that the wealthy Mr. Ma belongs to an organization that got its start calling for the…

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Alibaba Had Another Big Singles Day. The Party May Not Last.

SHANGHAI — After 24 hours of frenzied buying and selling, and weeks of advertising and promotions before it, the Alibaba Group announced that its sales hit another titanic high on Singles Day, the Nov. 11 shopping festival that the Chinese e-commerce behemoth cooked up a decade ago.This time, as China’s vast economy slows, the party was held with icebergs in sight from the deck.China’s biggest online shopping company kicked off the country’s biggest shopping day with its usual ostentation. Its Saturday night gala event in Shanghai featured the singer Mariah Carey, the retired basketball star Allen Iverson and Miranda Kerr, the Australian supermodel. A Chinese girl group…

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Alibaba Feels the Pinch From China’s Slowing Economic Growth

SHANGHAI — China’s biggest e-commerce company is expecting rockier times ahead, a troubling sign for a vast economy that is one of the world’s most important engines of growth.The flagging pace of economic expansion in China and the country’s trade war with the United States led the Alibaba Group to cut its estimate of revenue growth for the current fiscal year, which ends in March, by around 5 percent, the shopping giant said on Friday. For the quarter that ended in September, revenue came in at $12.4 billion, a 54 percent increase from a year earlier but less than analysts had expected.“The global economy is in a…

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Alibaba’s Chairman, Jack Ma, Plans to Step Down

HONG KONG — The Alibaba Group said on Monday that Jack Ma would resign as chairman, unveiling a leadership succession plan for the Chinese e-commerce giant as it faces a more uncertain environment at home.Mr. Ma, who co-founded Alibaba in his apartment 19 years ago and has led it ever since, will step down as chairman a year from Monday, the company said. He will be succeeded by Daniel Zhang, currently Alibaba’s chief executive.Alibaba said the move was meant to foster long-term growth and reduce its dependence on any one person. At the same time, it took pains to stress that Mr. Ma would remain involved with…

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Alibaba’s Jack Ma, China’s Richest Man, to Retire From Company He Co-Founded

HONG KONG — Alibaba’s co-founder and executive chairman, Jack Ma, said he planned to step down from the Chinese e-commerce giant on Monday to pursue philanthropy in education, a changing of the guard for the $420 billion internet company.A former English teacher, Mr. Ma started Alibaba in 1999 and built it into one of the world’s most consequential e-commerce and digital payments companies, transforming how Chinese people shop and pay for things. That fueled his net worth to more than $40 billion, making him China’s richest man. He is revered by many Chinese, some of whom have put his portrait in their homes to worship in the…

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Alibaba Had a Bright Quarter, Despite Clouds Over China’s Economy

BEIJING — The escalating trade fight between China and the United States is making this an uneasy time for the world’s second-largest economy. Chinese stocks have slumped. The currency has gone for a ride.Serving the nation’s middle-class shoppers, however, still seems to be rollicking good business.The Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce leviathan, reported a rise in sales of more than 60 percent in the latest quarter compared with a year earlier.Profits for April to June fell by more than 40 percent, however, reflecting the effect of a large increase in the valuation of Ant Financial, an Alibaba sister company. Because Alibaba has given some employees awards based…

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The Latest Hot E-Commerce Idea in China: The Bargain Bin

BEIJING — Apple, Gucci, Tesla. Many Chinese shoppers love their top-shelf brands.But another big slice of the population goes gaga for a 40-cent pair of earrings, a $1.50 wireless smartphone charger and 50 rolls of toilet paper for $4.75.These are the shoppers on Pinduoduo, a Chinese app that drew close to 350 million customers in the past year, more than the entire population of the United States. Its parent company is expected to list shares on the Nasdaq stock exchange on Thursday, just three years into its existence.The lightning-fast ascent of Pinduoduo (pronounced a bit like “PING-daw-daw”) suggests that China is not done producing high-flying internet upstarts,…

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Investing in SoftBank Is Becoming a Bet on Its Founder’s Deal-Making Prowess

Get the DealBook newsletter to make sense of major business and policy headlines — and the power-brokers who shape them.__________For most of its existence, SoftBank was known as a Japanese phone company that made some lucky bets. But in the future, being an investor in the company will mean betting on the investment prowess of its founder, Masayoshi Son.Over the past few months, SoftBank has moved to drastically shrink itself. In April, it struck a deal to combine Sprint, which it controls, with T-Mobile, reducing its share of the embattled American carrier’s financial burden. It announced plans this week to spin out its domestic telecom business.If those…

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Worried About Big Tech? Chinese Giants Make America’s Look Tame

Those lives are riper for tech disruption than lives in the West. In China, small stores dominate retail. Hospitals are crowded and doctors overworked. Most people do not have credit cards. These are easier business opportunities for Alibaba and Tencent than they would be for Amazon or Facebook.In a report this week, Morgan Stanley predicted that by 2027, the total market in China in which Alibaba could be making money will be worth $19 trillion — more than Amazon’s potential market worldwide.At the moment, both Chinese giants are hustling to find more ways for people to transact using their wallet and not the other’s. Alibaba’s shopping sites…

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