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- Lid geworden op: 02 jan 2012 20:17
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Chinese grocery app Dingdong Maicai, which counts Sequoia Capital among its investors, is considering launching an initial public offering in the US that could raise at least $300 million, Bloomberg News reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Dingdong Maicai, which translates to "Dingdong buy vegetables," is competing with Tencent Holdings-backed (HKG:0700) MissFresh and platforms operated by Alibaba Pictures Group (HKG:1060) and JD.com (HKG:9618) in the saturated fresh food distribution market in China, the report said.
The market is projected to reach 1.27 trillion yuan ($197 billion) by 2025, Bloomberg said.
© MT Newswires 2021
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Sun Art Retail Group (HKG:6808) renewed its Hema delivery cooperation partnership with controlling shareholder Alibaba Group Holding (HKG:9988) that expired on Feb. 28.
Under the extended tie-up, Alibaba-owned courier Hangzhou Rajax will continue to provide delivery services to customers of Hema Fresh stores operated by Sun Art Retail subsidiaries Dalian Runhe and Shenyang Runhe.
The new deal runs from March 1, 2021 to March 1, 2022, according to a late Sunday disclosure.
Hema Fresh is a grocery-store network in China owned by Alibaba, which in October 2020 acquired a 72% stake in Chinese hypermarket and supermarket operator Sun Art Retail Group.
© MT Newswires 2021
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- Lid geworden op: 23 apr 2020 13:51
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Alibaba's Ecosystem Is Proving Its Mettle, Defying Immense Headwinds
Feb. 28, 2021 10:00 AM
Investors continued to take profit off stocks that had seen a good run-up year-to-date and redeployed some proceeds into energy and materials names as well as reopening trades.
Chinese equities were particularly hard-hit amidst the fanning of the flames of U.S.-China political tensions and a pending increase in stamp duty on stock trades in Hong Kong.
The "stay in place" directive imposed by the government resulted in a surprising boom in gifting, facilitated by e-commerce platforms and their formidable logistics units.
Alibaba Group's offline operations also sought to capture the retail dollars, with most outlets remaining open during the festive holiday.
The collaborations with their suppliers demonstrate how Alibaba and the other e-commerce players are able to achieve ever-higher sales in a multi-faceted manner that ensures their success.
By ALT Perspective for Chinese Internet Weekly
The market sell-off continued from the previous week. Investors seemed to have taken profit off stocks that had seen a good run-up year-to-date and redeployed some proceeds into energy and materials names as well as those deemed more specifically as reopening trades.
Chinese equities were particularly hard-hit amidst the fanning of the flames of U.S.-China political tensions and the announcement by the stock exchange of Hong Kong (OTCPK:HKXCF)(OTCPK:HKXCY)(HKSE:0388) that the stamp duty paid on listed stock trades would be increased from 0.1 percent to 0.13 percent.
Wally Adeyemo in his confirmation hearing to be deputy treasury secretary offered China an unintended compliment, calling the country the "top strategic competitor" of the U.S., and fired off a series of tough talks. He expressed a strong intention to adopt sanctioning tools under the purview of the Treasury "in responding to authoritarian governments that seek to subvert our democratic institutions" and "combating unfair economic practices in China and elsewhere." This reminded market players of the U.S. investment bans on alleged Chinese military companies that were imposed under the Trump administration which led to a sell-down in related stocks.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed legislation aimed at countering China's rise by funding $100 billion to "protect our semiconductor supply chain and keep us No. 1 in AI (artificial intelligence), 5G (next generation communications network), quantum computing, biomedical research, storage, all of these things are part of the bill."
Not that the U.S. tech giants, collectively worth several trillions of dollars, need the monetary incentives but if it is the Chinese government doing so, the development programs of the beneficiaries would have been labeled as "state-sponsored" and potentially attract sanctions. It is, thus, a blessing in disguise that their Chinese counterparts do not have the luxury of such generous research funding.
Furthermore, given the explicit support to U.S. tech firms, the authorities in China may want to rethink the intensity of their anti-monopoly crackdown and the tightened regulatory environment on fintech to avoid hobbling the local champions and risk them falling behind their global rivals. This would be a catalyst to watch out for, especially if American legislators increasingly tilt towards measures to aid American tech companies.
Another related catalyst would be the realization by market players that the harsh tone adopted by politicians including Adeyemo and Schumer was probably more for the domestic audience and it would be more bark than bite. A Bloomberg commentary cited a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce suggesting that politicians who advocate for decoupling from China should "ask themselves whether they are ready to fill the gigantic revenue shortfalls of U.S. companies with government spending while supporting the innovation that China now funds."
The author warned of astronomical costs, using the example of Boeing (BA), where a complete sales cutoff to China would reduce economies of scale across the U.S. aviation industry, raise the cost of U.S.-made products, and erode their competitiveness globally. While President Joe Biden spoke often about combating China together with "trusted allies" like France and Germany in Europe, Airbus (OTCPK:EADSF)(OTCPK:EADSY) "would gleefully pick up Boeing orders."
The prognosis from the scenario is dire: "Tens of thousands of high-skilled, well-paid jobs would disappear, spreading pain across communities in Washington state and California that depend on Boeing and its network of suppliers." American travelers would also suffer, having to pay for all the disruption through higher ticket prices. Stakeholders of Airbus, mostly Europeans, would not forsake China sales to stand with America.
Until the masses understand the implications, investors would take the consequences of the political rhetoric at face value, i.e. China would be at the losing end and Chinese businesses would go down along with it. As a result of the multiple headwinds, the representative ETFs of Chinese companies (CQQQ)(FXI)(MCHI) lagged behind their U.S. counterparts (QQQ)(DIA)(SPY) by a wide margin in the past week.
The Invesco China Technology ETF which has an outsized holding in Baidu (BIDU), fell particularly hard among the broad-based ETFs, losing 11.6 percent for the week. The leading Chinese search engine is the top holding of the CQQQ ETF at 12.4 percent of the portfolio (as of February 26, 2021). Its share price plunged 16.6 percent for the week, trimming its year-to-date gains to 31.1 percent.
Second-and-third-largest holdings Tencent Holdings (OTCPK:TCEHY)(OTCPK:TCTZF) and Meituan (MEIT) (OTCPK:MPNGF)(OTCPK:MPNGY), with a weightage of 9.9 percent and 9.2 percent respectively, also dragged down the ETF. The duo declined 8.7 percent and 16.2 percent respectively.
The KraneShares CSI China Internet ETF (KWEB) did not fare much worse, losing 11.8 percent, just a shade below the CQQQ ETF. This was despite its concentration of the week's most-hated stocks - the high-flying internet companies. A consolation for shareholders of the two ETFs is that the well-loved ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW) suffered a steeper drop, losing 13.1 percent.
Notably, while others were taking their fat trading profit off Baidu, Cathie Wood's Ark Invest Fund Holdings was adding the shares to the various ARK funds including the ARKW ETF. Ark Invest now has 4.57 million shares as of Friday, February 26, 2021, the highest number it ever had. Baidu stock represented 2.54 percent of the combined portfolio of Ark Invest, up from 1.37 percent at the beginning of the year.
In contrast, Ark Invest has sold Tencent stock for 12 consecutive sessions, reducing its stake to 9.63 million shares, down from a peak of 11.87 million shares just a few days ago. Its fund managers have also trimmed its ownership of Alibaba Group Holding Limited (BABA) in the past two days to a mere 657 thousand shares, down from a peak of 1.08 million shares before the sale.
With the reallocation, Baidu now has a heavier weighting across Ark Invest's funds than Alibaba and Tencent combined (2.54 percent versus 1.96 percent). This seems to suggest that Cathie Wood and her team of analysts are more optimistic about Baidu of the BAT troika than Alibaba and Tencent.
The iShares China Large-Cap ETF and the iShares MSCI China ETF, where both have Alibaba and Tencent as the top two holdings, escaped double-digit percentage losses, thanks to a smaller to nil holding of Baidu.
ChartData by YCharts
Interestingly, although the internet stalwarts saw their share prices tumble, their subsidiaries or key holdings did relatively better. For instance, although Baidu stock sank 16.6 percent, iQIYI (IQ) and Trip.com (TCOM) both ended the week in positive territory, closing up 2.5 percent and 1.2 percent respectively. The latter's strength could be attributed to local reports of a potential secondary listing in Hong Kong and it is a beneficiary of the reopening trade.
In NetEase's (NTES) case, shareholders sold off its stock after the release of its lackluster Q4 2020 results. It missed on both earnings and revenue, and investors were not placated by the announcement of a new US$2.0 billion share repurchase program. On the other hand, its edutech arm, Youdao Inc (DAO) reversed from steep losses prior to the release of its results to a mild decline. Youdao reported a beat on both earnings and revenue, in contrast to its parent.
ChartData by YCharts
Although the upheaval in the stock markets can be hard to stomach, long-term investors can stay calm and focus on the operational and strategic moves the companies are making in their businesses. Last year, we heard much about how e-commerce players benefitted from the surge in online shopping as large swathes of China went into lockdown mode in the first quarter to combat the spread of COVID-19. Thus, into the new year, the concern among shareholders was whether the e-commerce sales growth would suffer from the high base effect without a similarly supportive environment.
Fortunately, the dire scenario did not materialize as the "stay in place" directive imposed by the government resulted in a surprising boom in gifting, facilitated by e-commerce platforms and their formidable logistics units. Many Chinese broke away from tradition and skipped their annual return to their hometowns as part of the Spring Festival celebrations. This was due to the obstacles (e.g. weeks of quarantine) erected by local governments to discourage inter-provincial travels coupled with incentives (e.g. cash rewards, shopping vouchers) for migrant workers to stay within the province of their workplaces.
The idea to restrict travel was made with good intentions for the sake of the masses. However, it meant that many Chinese missed their once-in-a-year (or rare) opportunity to spend time with their loved ones. The Chinese were not about to let distance prevent them from expressing their love for their relatives.
The younger generation who were already well-versed in online shopping readily made their orders and had boatloads of gifts shipped to their homes. Little did they know, their parents also sent them plenty of festive items.
Sample snapshots of social media postings by migrant workers expressing thanks to their parents for the bountiful festive gifts.
The total retail and F&B sales jumped 28.7 percent from a year earlier to 821 billion yuan (US$127 billion) for the seven-day festive period, according to the data from the Ministry of Commerce. Jewelry, apparel, communication devices, home electronics ranked among the top categories by sales, rising 160.8 percent, 107.1 percent, 39.0 percent, and 29.9 percent respectively.
It is not known the proportion of gifting done online but a recent estimation by eMarketer projected that ecommerce sales in China would reach 52.1 percent of the total retail sales. This is up from around one-third just two years ago. Thus, online shopping very likely benefitted from the festive jump in retail sales.
retail ecommerce sales in China, projection to year 2024
Tellingly, China's postal system reported it handled 365 million parcels from February 11 to February 15. This quantity was more than triple that a year earlier, thanks largely to food and agricultural packages sent by friends and family members. Furry creatures were not left out of the festivity. Retailers did a brisk business selling reunion dinner gift boxes for pets.
Helping with the national spike in delivery demand was Alibaba's logistics arm Cainiao Network which pledged to maintain operations across more than 200 cities over the festive period. Nearly 50,000 of its Cainiao Post stations countrywide also stayed open for consumers to collect their orders, including through contactless methods such as self-serve pick-up machines and driverless carts. I elaborated on the advantages of such technology adoption to Alibaba Group in a recent article.
Source: Snapshot from YouTube video
It wasn't just Alibaba's online platforms doing a roaring business during the Lunar New Year period, its offline operations also sought to capture the retail dollars. Alibaba's department store chain Intime declared it was "business as usual" across its 65 branches in 35 cities, with nearly 80 percent of its stores continuing to offer delivery services in as fast as an hour. Its "new retail" concept supermarket Freshippo also kept 260 of its stores across the country open throughout the holiday.
Freshippo enjoyed a quadrupling in sales of Chinese New Year staple foods, like dumplings, easy-to-cook semi-prepared meals compared to the same period last year. While that's already commendable, what's impressive was the management's savviness in creating adaptions to its food offerings to cater for more residents "celebrating in place." This included more regional cuisines and food specialties, so people were able to get a taste of home wherever they were, which helped alleviate any home-sickness they might have felt. The supermarket also introduced CNY meal sets for four to six people to leverage on smaller-sized celebrations.
RT-Mart, one of China’s largest hypermarket chains owned by Sun Art Retail Group (OTCPK:SURRY)(OTCPK:SURRF)(HKSE: 6808) in which Alibaba Group took a 36.16 percent stake in 2017, released pre-cooked dishes that consumers can simply heat up to eat, from Cantonese braised pork belly with abalone to Beijing-style lamb spine hot pot.
Alibaba's grip on consumer spending stems from its comprehensive offering. Besides satisfying the shopping needs for ingredients and prepared meals, its online food delivery platform, Ele.me, also benefited from a boom in online deliveries. The app was supported by a nearly threefold surge in holiday meal offers from last year and a 260 percent rise in the number of stores serving up festive meals for delivery.
Fliggy, Alibaba Group's travel-services platform, was also cashing in. What's it got to do with food, you may ask. Well, hotels from Marriott to Shangri-la are on the platform and they offered festive dinner sets where consumers could choose to pick up in person, had them delivered, or request the chef to prepare the food for them in their homes. Several chefs had even made use of the livestreaming feature on Fliggy to interact with consumers and share cooking tips, reflecting the company's agility in servicing businesses to enable them to tap on the trend.
For those who do need to travel to other provinces, Alibaba Group's healthcare arm Alibaba Health (OTCPK:ALBBY)(OTCPK:ALBHF)(HKSE:0241) launched a feature within its "Dr. Deer" app to help people find nearby Covid-19 testing locations so that they could get tested and fulfill the requirements. Users could make appointments, access results, and even book house-call testing services.
Alibaba's involvement in the health arena also extends to animals. While Alibaba does not offer a branded smartwatch, it has equipped chicken farmers with smart bracelets that track the health of their poultry. The farmers can boost production and improve food quality while allowing them to sell the produce at the same or lower price on Alibaba's e-commerce platforms. The latter attracts more users and purchases, allowing for a greater economy of scale for the farmers and creating a positive feedback loop.
The win-win partnership model is not exclusive to Alibaba. JD.com (JD) has guided rice growers in China's dryer regions to install smart sensors to gain real-time insights for irrigation. Pinduoduo (PDD) is working with scientists to employ artificial intelligence to automate strawberry planting that would ensure high-quality supplies for its Duoduo Maicai grocery business.
These collaborations demonstrate how Alibaba and the other e-commerce players are able to achieve ever-higher sales in a multi-faceted manner that ensures their success. At the same time, with such smart-farming initiatives partly subsidized by the government in the bid to improve self-sufficiency in food, we should expect the internet retailers to continue introducing technologies like the Internet of Things, 5G, AI, and blockchain to bring innovative solutions to the agricultural field.
As explained in a past issue of the Chinese Internet Weekly, I found the KWEB ETF holding the most representative stocks in the sector. As such, an overview of the week's share price movements of the top few holdings of KWEB as compared with the ETF itself is provided as follows for convenient reference especially for the stocks mentioned in this article.
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