Jack Ma Refuses To Give Speech

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Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma will not give a speech after the membership suspension with IACC last week

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s chief executive officer, Jack Ma has declined to give a speech at a conference focusing on anti-counterfeiting in the Unites States since the trade organization behind the venture put a halt on the company’s recently garnered membership.

BABA has been struggling since couple of years with accusations that its online shopping venture are retailing counterfeit goods. Moreover, many critics also claim that the company has not done much to overcome the problem.

Almost three of the members of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition which is based in Washington that encompasses Tiffany & Co. as the board members also quit the group as a protest. Moreover, other members also threatened to quit the group after Alibaba was admitted back in April.

So on Friday, the IACC finally suspended on the new category in which Alibaba was admitted. This eventually terminated the membership.

According to Jennifer Kuperman, the head of international corporate communications mentioned in a statement, “Given the IACC’s desire for additional time to reflect upon the viability of its general membership category, Alibaba feels it best that Jack Ma postpone his appearance.”

However, Michael Evans, the Alibaba Group President will replace Jack Ma will speak at the conference in Orlando, Florida instead.

Kuperman also expressed solidarity with the company by reiterating its stance of “firmly committed to the protection of intellectual property rights and combating counterfeits”.

The same day when the cancellation took place, Mr. Jack Ma ha lunch with Mr. Barack Obama, the President United States at the White House reported a source close to the company.

The biggest E-commerce giant in China has vowed to fight against counterfeit goods for which it has recruited several employees. However, many brands are of the view that the issue is still alarming particularly on its popular shopping platform, Taobao.

The company came up with a letter to the IACC where it explained its decision to bid farewell to the Michael Kors group. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd stating, “The largest marketplace for counterfeit merchandise the world has ever seen” and blasted the IACC for providing “cover to our most dangerous and damaging adversary”.

The previous week Taobao stated that it is getting stricter with its laws in terms of the control on the sale of luxury items. Sellers are now required to come up with a proof of authenticity so that the sale of fake goods can be countered.

The sale of fake products is extremely common in China in the brick and mortar shops as well as online fraternity.

According to the report by the official People Daily newspaper published this month, the Chinese authorities are going to come up with a campaign to clean out the E-commerce space with focus on counterfeit, poor quality good and violations etc. This move is going to have an impact on rivals such as JD.com Inc. and Baidu Inc.

Amazon Significantly Growing In India

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Amazon has shown incredible growth signs in India which could unsettle the local e-commerce giants

Amazon Inc.’s overall business has been growing at a very fast pace in recent years. The company is not only focused to improving and expanding its e-commerce business but has equal eyes on the cloud computing division and the streaming business. However one thing which is very important to the US retailing giant is the need to settle in the Indian e-commerce marketplace. Due to its Prime membership, it gained immense popularity and traction in the US market. Likewise, significant growth has been reported for its Indian operations.

According to the India Times, Amazon India growth momentum this year can prove to be a great threat for the established local players. It is believed that its growth will unsettle the likes of Flipkart and Snapdeal in a very stiff and tough e-commerce market as AMZN’s online shipments jumped 150 percent in the first three months only. The managing director of Indian operations, Amit Agarwal, said in a statement that the company’s operations in the region continue to grow at an ‘extremely’ fast pace when compared to the local e-commerce giants. He also expects that the robust growth and momentum will continue throughout the year.

Amit Agarwal was recently ‘inducted’ in the global leadership team of Jeff Bezos. He said in a statement “We were growing at 3-4 times the rate (the overall) landscape was growing. So we exited 2015 with a very high bar for growth in 2016. What we saw in the first quarter of 2016 was that momentum has not slowed.”

It is known that the online retailer is currently in a very tough competition for a market share and market leadership with the likes of Flipkart and Snapdeal. And all parties have been heavily investing in their expansion plans, marketing, strengthening supply chains, and stealing customers with attractive prices and discounts. But one thing where Amazon is better than Flipkart and Snapdeal is the power to raise money. Both Indian e-commerce players are struggling to raise money for their facilities however the online retailer has been pouring millions in its India operations.

Mr. Agarwal added, “We (India operations) continue to be Amazon’s fastest-growing geography. Pretty much in all the inputs that we track… we know we are the leader. But “we don’t fool ourselves with sellers engaged with the platform… what we track is the total number of sellers who are active, which has grown by 250% year-over-year to more than 85,000.”

Amazon Enters The Contest With YouTube

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According to several analysts, the e-commerce giant has the ability to efficiently contest in any business.

On Tuesday, the world’s biggest online retailer, Amazon.com, Inc. launched a service similar to YouTube which let the users to upload videos and earn royalties from them. This will mark the leading e-commerce giant to contest with Alphabet Inc.’s most popular YouTube.

Dubbed as Amazon Video Direct, the new service will offer the uploaded videos on rent or to buy in order to enable an ad free view; or the uploaded videos can be packaged together in order to be offered as an add-on subscription.

Company’s highly popular Prime loyalty program has been following the same pattern. The service offers original TV programming along with the accessibility to Prime Video and Prime Music and like digital entertainment products. For an annual fee of $99, it also offers one-hour delivery of purchases.

The most popular video streaming application, YouTube presents ad-supported, free service along with a subscription option against a nominal fee of $10 dubbed as YouTube Red.

Nevertheless, Amazon will require a lot of time to get closer to YouTube who has been ruling the internet for a long time since 2005.

According to Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities said that in his opinion, it is highly unlikely that just 50 million user base of Amazon Prime will have significant blow on the colossal 2 billion user base of YouTube.

One of the analysts at Tigress Financial Partners, Ivan Feinseith opined that although he’s a bit cautious regarding the new business line of the company however according to his beliefs and knowledge the online retailer has the adequate financial resources and technological means to contest with any business.

He added, “I don’t know if it’s going to totally disrupt YouTube or even some of the other services, but for those that are heavy Amazon users, it will have an appeal.”

Through the new service, Amazon’s service consumers can make their videos available in Austria, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and United States.

For the service, Amazon has signed off partnership with several companies including, but not limited to, tech blog Mashable, toymaker Mattel Inc., the Guardian, and Conde Nast Entertainment. This endorses the company’s firm push into video.

On Tuesday, Carlos Kirjner, an analyst at Bernstein stipulated in a client note that this year on video content, tentatively e-commerce giant will spend close to $2.9 billion for Amazon Prime.

Recently, $335 billion company released its video program on a monthly subscription for $10.99. It is now looking forward to present standalone video streaming service against a monthly fee of $8.99.

Since it’s outperformed earnings, Amazon’s stock has had quite modest growth. The stock also helped pushing the S&P 500 to its best day in two months. At the market which closed on Tuesday, Amazon.com, Inc.’s stock went up 3.43% and stood at a price of $703.07. it.

 

You Don’t Have To Be Live On Facebook’s Live

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The new feature of the social networking site let the users to post pre recorded content

Although the name suggests otherwise, however, the new video feature of the social networking giant, Facebook Live doesn’t need to be live. The latest tool of the social networking site is allowing the companies to post their “pre-recorded” content.

This feature is based on traditional methods adopted by TV networks for decades which air previously taped programs on a linear schedule.

Facebook has quite actively worked for making its live-video feature a success. Several media companies now think whether the upload of pre-recorded content may garner greater exposure in the news feed of the users in comparison with the traditional uploading of the content through the site’s non-live video posting feature.

A news company, NowThis –who generally use social platforms for its publications –conducted an experiment with the latest option in late April. This included streaming of company’s favorite viral videos through newly introduced Facebook Live. The video was 38 minute long and, according to Facebook’s counters, got over 20,000 views with over 500 comments.

NowThis President, Athan Stephanopoulos has said that since the feature is relatively in its infancy stage therefore the 38 minute video compilation was “a test and an experiment.” He further added, “We decided to take a bunch of viral videos and run them live. Then we were getting involved in the comments.”

A spokesman from the world’s most popular social networking site stipulated that the company doesn’t have any definite policy which abstain the user from uploading pre-recorded content. He further added that the main point of the feature is that the host/uploader of the content can interact with the viewers in real time.

Mr. Stephanopoulos added that the news agency may not instantly stream pre-recorded footage but it will consider making the most of Facebook’s new features of video.

The new feature is enabling several media companies for the promotion of their Web series by airing on Facebook Live at a certain time, in a similar fashion like linear television show. Once they have been streamed they can be used in the same fashion as normal Facebook videos.

Majority of media companies and publishers are increasing their experiments with Facebook novel live-streaming platform. The platform has brought a considerable amount of viewership.

A self-professed ‘millennial’ news site Mic has said that they will roll tape of the parts of the interview with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Mic’s chief strategy officer, Cory Haik, has expressed that the Live feature of Facebook enables the commenters to be more engaged with a real-time event.

The feature is currently in its initial phase and the time will tell how popular it will be and what future benefits it will hold for the social networking giant.

At the market which closed on Monday, Facebook Inc. stock stood at a price of $119.24.

Cupertino Mayor Miffed At Apple

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The mayor beliefs that the tech giant is not sharing the profits with the region justly

Barry Chang, the mayor of Cupertino is disgruntled with Silicon Valley tech giant, Apple Inc. In an interview with The Guardian, Chang stormed at the world’s most valuable company and accused it of tax evasion and concealing its money in the accounts maintained overseas. He said that such practices of the tech titan are weakening Cupertino. He taunted the company saying, “Apple is not willing to pay a dime.”

Chang argued that since the company is making exorbitant profits then they should “share our responsibility for our city, but they won’t.” Currently, while being in compliance with the tax system, Apple Inc. pays at a tax rate of about 2.3%, at this rate, from 2012 to 2013, the tech behemoth has paid mere $9.2 million while generating close to $181 million offshore. Mr. Chang cited that the company ought to pay far more and that he tried compelling the tech giant to pay around $100 million to Cupertino for the purpose of infrastructure projects. However, the city council voted against the motion.

Chang added that he is determined and it is less likely that he’d back out. On the other hand, the Cupertino, Calif. firm has stated that it has been paying the Cupertino tens of millions of dollars in the form of property taxes and additional sales; also, while part of the tax charged to the company relates to the construction of the new campus. The campus is likely to generate billions for the local businesses.

In the past as well, Apple Chief Executive, Tim Cook has assured that the company has always maintained law compliance. Currently, the tax system followed in U.S. allows the organizations for such practices –also referred as “double Irish.” Through the initiative, the companies may set up their headquarters at low-tax regions like Ireland and subsequently disperse the profits to subsidiaries in regions like Bermuda or Cayman Islands. According to Citizens for Tax Justice –a non-profit research group, if the tech titan’s financials are adjusted on the basis of the money held by the company overseas then the iPhone maker would, in taxes, owe close to $59.2 billion.

Last December, on similar matter, Mr. Cook expressed that the criticism against Apple has political roots. He cited that the country should work on framing policies which could allow companies to bring in the profits they earned overseas conveniently to their dwelling countries without the payment of exorbitant –30% to 40% –corporate tax rate.

Apple’s stock, at the market which traded on Thursday, closed at a price of $93.24 by falling 0.38%.The 52 week range of the stock is $92 to $133.

Tesla’s First Quarter Earning Report

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The automaker posted losses but is determined to ramp up its production plans

On Wednesday, Tesla Motors Inc. announced that it is looking forward to accelerate its annual production and achieve the goal of half-a-million vehicles around two years earlier. But, the luxury electric car maker has to achieve this target without the guidance of two top manufacturing executives.

The Palo Alto, Calif. firm disclosed its quarter’s earnings on Wednesday and, in comparison with the year-ago same period, the automaker’s loss has doubled although the company did manage to bolster its sales of luxurious sedan and sport-utility vehicle. In order to avoid negative cash flow in the current year, 2016, the automaker surrendered a plan so that it can pour in some money to ramp up the production of the affordable “Model 3” which –at a price of $35,000 –will help the auto-tech giant to sell 500,000 by 2018.

The company is planning to roll out the highly anticipated car sometime in the second half of the next year. As of now, the company has set a goal of producing a total of 100,000 to 200,000 by the year end.

The Californian automobile behemoth has faced a lot of hurdles and difficulties in manufacturing its current products on time and glitches free. The company’s clean image was tarnished when, over the course of last six months, the problems with the Model X SUV doors and seat latches come on the surface. The initial price of Model X starts from $81,000.

Tesla Motors made it public on Wednesday that two of its executives –Manufacturing Vice President Josh Ensign and Production Vice President Greg Reichow will no longer be part of the company in the future. Mr. Reichow has been with the company since 2011 and had previously been in charge of powertrain engineering. He will remain in the company until his position is not filled while Mr. Ensign who had lead manufacturing has already departed from the company.

The departures, however, are not out of ordinary. Since its inception, back in 2003, Tesla Motors has lost number of its executives as the arch-rivals recruited automaker’s employees. Some recent departures from the company include, Vice President of Worldwide Finance and its assistant vice president of regulatory affairs, Michael Zanoni and Jim Chen.

On a conference call with the investors, Tesla’s Chief Executive, Elon Musk said, “Tesla is going to be hell-bent on becoming the best manufacturer on earth. Thus far, I think we’ve done a good job on design and technology on our products. The key thing we need to do in the future is to also be a leader in manufacturing. It’s a thing we need to obviously solve if we are going to scale and scale rapidly.”

The analysts from Wall Street have been closely monitoring the cash burn of the company and several analysts have opined that the company had to sell some additional shares in order to pile up some cash for adequate production.

The current production goals have been coined on the basis of the humungous 400,000 reservations which came in after the company debuted its Model 3. For the quarter, the reservations called for $1,000 in form of refundable deposits and garnered hundreds of millions of dollar in new funds. According to the officials, the money poured through reservations strengthened the confidence of the company.

The company has reported a loss of $283 million –or EPS of $2.13 –on the revenue of $1.15 billion. After the announcement of earnings, at the after-hours trading, the share of the company jumped up 3.1% and rested at $229.50.

 

Credit Suisse Reiterates $150 Price Target on Apple

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The analyst is confident that the tech giant has ability to make more sales

Despite reaching at its 52-week low, an analyst at Credit Suisse, Kulbinder Garcha expressed on Tuesday that he is reiterating his price target of $150 on Apple’s shares.

Since last week, after the announcement of the company’s quarterly earnings, its shares have been declining. For the first time ever in thirteen years, the tech giant reported quarterly revenue decline and for the first time ever, the company recorded a decline in the sales of its core product –iPhone –in comparison with the prior year.

But, according to Garcha, a lot of the elements which have been hurting the stock are ephemeral. He is confident that in the upcoming six to 12 months the negative factors can possibly be reversed.

He added that iPhone’s demand is slow due to rate of upgrade. Earlier, the company has impressive rate of upgrade with iPhone cycle while this year, the upgrade was quite modest. Moreover, the Cupertino Calif. firm is expected to release the next generation iPhone, dubbed iPhone 7, sometime later this year.

According to his analysis, the iPhone consumers are likely to change their devices in a span of around 13 months and close to 90 to 95% of them didn’t let go of the brand therefore, in line with this assumption, the stock is likely to revive and the iPhone sales will gain momentum.

He added that since the tech titan’s stock is trading at 9.5 times forward earnings therefore the company’s valuation is duly in line with that of other smartphones manufacturers. He also cited that what distinguishes the company from other competitors is the “strong retention” which the firm has.

Garcha said that in order to shake the firm foundations of the tech behemoth, any rival has to come up with a handset which can easily giver better user experience across TV platforms, computer, and mobile at substantially lower prices.

Credit Suisse put forward their analysis of the probable international growth and cited that, in the next five years, the company has the ability to generate another $90 to $95 billion in China if it can get hold of the Chinese consumers who are willing to spend around $600 a year on Apple products. Additionally, for coherent international growth, the tech titan has to expand in the markets of Brazil, Russia, and India.

According to senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, Gene Munster, the sales cycle and demand for iPad and iPhone differs at great extent. Therefore, the projection that the tech giant hasn’t been able to revive from the declining sales of iPad couldn’t be iterated on iPhones. He said that having been handling the trends of iPhones for almost nine years, the analysts can easily guess how the iPhones sales will turn out.