By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba announced in early September that it is opening a sports division. Alibaba seeks to reshape China’s sports industry through the Internet.
Company founder, Jack Ma, stated that it has set up Alibaba Sports Group together with Sina, a China Internet news site, and Yunfeng Capital, a Ma-backed investment firm.
Financial details weren’t disclosed and information about what Alibaba Sports Group will do has not been revealed. Alibaba Sports Group will be the majority owner in this venture.
The creation of a new business entity comes at a time when investors are concerned with the growth of Alibaba after a world-record U.S. IPO last September. As of September 2015, the stock has lost half of its value and is trading below its $68 IPO price.
But, with the new sports division, there is hope that it may revive the current business climate. “Alibaba Sports Group aims to transform the China sports industry through the use of Internet-based technologies to bring greater and better products and services to consumers, sports participants and sports fans alike,” said Alibaba Group CEO Danial Zhang.
Sports are a big area of focus for Chinese Internet companies as U.S. and U.K. basketball and soccer leagues look to expand into Asia.
There is no word where the sports group would be located. Alibaba has an office in Seattle. It was rumored that the company would make the region its U.S. headquarters but that speculation was quashed this summer. (end)
Jason Cruz can be reached at email@example.com.