Alibaba’s Market Cap Plummets by $20 Billion Amid Cloud Business Listing Cancellation
Alibaba’s market capitalization dropped by over $20 billion after canceling the listing of its cloud computing business.
The decision is attributed to U.S. export restrictions on advanced chips, leading to uncertainties about the future of the Cloud Intelligence Group.
Alibaba’s CEO, Joe Tsai, emphasizes a shift towards AI-driven cloud computing services for sustainable growth.
Market experts had anticipated a higher valuation for the spun-off cloud business, with estimates ranging from $41 billion to $60 billion.
Morgan Stanley lowered its price target for Alibaba’s stock, and analysts suggested a shift towards Tencent.
The geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China have entangled Alibaba, highlighting the challenges faced by Chinese tech giants.
Alibaba continues to invest in artificial intelligence to compete with U.S. tech leaders.
Main AI News:
In a significant turn of events, Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba has seen a staggering $20 billion erasure from its market capitalization following its decision to abandon the planned listing of its cloud computing division. This announcement came as a surprise and sent shockwaves through the business world, particularly among investors eagerly anticipating the spinoff.
The decision, announced on Thursday, cited U.S. export restrictions on advanced chips as the primary reason behind the abrupt change in direction. Alibaba, a formidable rival to U.S. tech behemoth Amazon, stated that these curbs had introduced a considerable degree of uncertainty regarding the future prospects of its Cloud Intelligence Group. This group is a formidable player in the fiercely competitive landscape of cloud computing, where it competes head-to-head with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
Alibaba’s CEO, Joe Tsai, addressed the decision during the company’s investor call on Thursday, stating, “Instead, we will focus on developing a sustainable growth model based on emerging AI-driven demand for networked and highly scaled cloud computing services.”
The consequences of this unexpected shift were immediately evident in the financial markets. At the close of trading on Thursday in Hong Kong, Alibaba’s market capitalization stood at a formidable 1.65 trillion Hong Kong dollars ($211.6 billion). However, as the markets opened on Friday, the company’s market cap tumbled to 1.49 trillion Hong Kong dollars, translating into a jaw-dropping loss of $21.1 billion, according to CNBC calculations based on data from FactSet.
U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba also felt the impact, trading around 2% lower on Friday, extending losses from a punishing session on Thursday, during which the stock plummeted by 9%. Investors had high hopes for the spun-off cloud business, with analysts estimating its value to be between $41 billion to $60 billion back in March.
Nonetheless, market experts had previously warned that the listing could attract intense scrutiny from regulators, both in China and overseas, given the vast amount of data hosted and managed by the Cloud Intelligence Group.
Amid this turmoil, Morgan Stanley revised its price target for Alibaba’s stock, lowering it from $150 to $110. Currently, Alibaba shares are trading at $76.11 apiece in U.S. premarket trade. In a Thursday note, analysts at the bank announced the removal of Alibaba as a top pick and suggested a “shift to Tencent,” signaling a notable shift in investor sentiment.
The challenges faced by Alibaba in the global market landscape underscore the intricate geopolitical tensions between the United States and China. Alibaba has been heavily investing in artificial intelligence to remain competitive with its U.S. counterparts, including Microsoft, Alphabet’s Google, Meta, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft-backed firm OpenAI.
Alibaba’s integration of AI into its products and services has been a defining feature, from tailoring product recommendations to users to analyzing industrial data and crafting marketing strategies on its e-commerce platforms, such as Tmall, Taobao, and 1688.
In October, Alibaba introduced Tongyi Qianwen 2.0, a substantial upgrade to its artificial intelligence model. This large language model (LLM) competes with similar models from U.S. tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, showcasing Alibaba’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of AI technology.
Alibaba’s significant market cap decline due to the cancellation of its cloud business listing underscores the vulnerability of Chinese tech giants to geopolitical tensions. This decision has implications for the broader market, emphasizing the need for companies to navigate complex international regulations and scrutiny while investing in emerging technologies like AI to remain competitive.