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Alibaba crackdown spurs global concerns, $200bn China tech rout – Aljazeera.com

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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd led a second day of frenetic selling among China’s largest tech firms, driven by fears that antitrust scrutiny will spread beyond Jack Ma’s internet empire and engulf the country’s most powerful corporations.

Alibaba and its three largest rivals — Tencent Holdings Ltd., food delivery giant Meituan and JD.com Inc. — have shed nearly $200 billion over two sessions since Thursday, when regulators revealed an investigation into alleged monopolistic practices at Ma’s signature company. That marked the formal start of the Communist Party’s crackdown on not just Alibaba but also, potentially, the wider and increasingly influential tech sphere.

“It is very hard to predict the outcome of the Chinese government’s ongoing investigation into Alibaba and other large consumer internet platforms,” Baird analyst Colin Sebastian wrote in a note. He cut his price target on Alibaba’s U.S.-listed shares to $285 from $325, citing “uncertainty around government oversight and potential for direct regulatory action in the coming year.”

The company’s American depositary receipts fell 1.7% in premarket trading, adding to last session’s 13% drop, while JD.com lost 1.6%. The day’s Hong Kong trading was fierce: Alibaba fell 8% Monday, shedding $270 billion of value since its October peak. Tencent and Meituan both tumbled more than 6%. Alibaba rival JD.com Inc. slid roughly 2%.

On Sunday, China’s central bank ordered Ma’s other online titan — Ant Group Co. — to return to its roots as a payments service and overhaul adjacent businesses from insurance to money management, spurring talk of an eventual breakup.

Once hailed as the standard-bearers of China’s economic and technological ascendancy, Alibaba and its compatriots now face increasing pressure from regulators worried about the speed with which they’re amassing clout in sensitive arenas such as media and education and gaining influence over the daily lives of hundreds of millions. That concern crystallized in November, when regulators torpedoed Ant’s $35 billion initial public offering before unveiling draft rules enshrining sweeping powers to clamp down on anti-competitive practices in sectors from e-commerce to social media.

“The Chinese government is putting more pressure or wants to have more control on the tech firms,” Jackson Wong, asset management director at Amber Hill Capital Ltd., said by phone. “There is still very big selling pressure on firms like Alibaba, Tencent or Meituan. These companies have been growing at a pace deemed by Beijing as too fast and have scales that are too big.”

It’s unclear what concessions regulators may try to wring from Alibaba. Under the existing Antitrust Law — now undergoing revisions to include the internet industry for the first time — Beijing can fine violators up to 10% of their revenue. In Alibaba’s case, that could mean a levy of as much as $7.8 billion.

China’s e-commerce leader on Monday raised a proposed stock repurchase program by $4 billion to $10 billion, effective for two years through the end of 2022. But the buyback program was overwhelmed by fears that the steps taken against Ant are just the tip of the iceberg. While the central bank stopped short of calling for a breakup, the financial services giant now needs to present specific measures and a timetable for overhauling its business.

The State Administration for Market Regulation dispatched officials to Alibaba’s Hangzhou headquarters last Thursday and the on-site investigation was completed on the day, according to local news reports. The People’s Daily — the Communist Party mouthpiece — ran a commentary over the weekend warning Alibaba’s peers to take the antitrust investigation into Alibaba as a chance to lift their own awareness of fair competition.

Ma, the flamboyant co-founder of Alibaba and Ant, has all but vanished from public view since Ant’s IPO got derailed last month. As of early December, the man most closely identified with the meteoric rise of China Inc. was advised by the government to stay in the country, a person familiar with the matter has said.

Ma isn’t on the verge of a personal downfall, those familiar with the situation have said. His very public rebuke is instead a warning Beijing has lost patience with the outsize power of its technology moguls, increasingly perceived as a threat to the political and financial stability President Xi Jinping prizes most.

Investors remain divided over the extent to which Beijing will go after Alibaba and its compatriots as Beijing prepares to roll out the new anti-monopoly regulations. The country’s leaders have said little about how harshly they plan to clamp down or why they decided to act now.

Some analysts predict there’s a crackdown coming, but a targeted one. They point to language in the regulations that suggests a heavy focus on online commerce, from forced exclusive arrangements with merchants known as “Pick One of Two” to algorithm-based prices favoring new users. The regulations specifically warn against predatory pricing — selling below cost — to weed out rivals.

“As this latest investigation occurs at a time when China is ready to take action against monopolistic practices, we think SAMR might want to use BABA’s case as a precedent to send a message to the rest of the industry that the authority is determined this time to address the” pricing issue, Nomura analysts wrote in a note Monday.

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The 5 Big Banks in Canada

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Banks in Canada

The Big Five Banks is a term used in Canada to describe the five largest banks: Royal Bank, The Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, The Bank of Nova Scotia, and TD Canada Trust.

Occasionally, the term “Big Six Banks” is used, with the sixth bank referring to the National Bank of Canada. As of March 2008, the Big Six Banks and Laurentian Bank of Canada are the largest banks in Canada. The Five Big Banks hold over $100 billion in assets, and they are all based in Toronto. World Atlas provides the following data on each of the Big Five Banks.

1. Royal Bank of Canada

The Royal Bank of Canada is the largest of the Big Five with respect to net revenue (C$12.431 billion in 2018) and capitalization (C$150.35 billion as of early 2020). The Royal Bank of Canada has over 16 million clients worldwide, over 74,000 full-time employees and over 1,300 branches. Founded in 1864 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the bank financed the lumber and timber industries. It was known as the Merchants Bank of Halifax. The Royal Bank of Canada gives 1% of its income to charity.

2. Toronto-Dominion Bank

The second-largest bank in Canada, the Toronto-Dominion Bank has the most assets, which are valued at C$1.4 trillion as of July 2019. This bank has over 22 million clients worldwide, 85,000 full-time employees and over 1,100 branches. The bank was the result of a merger of the Bank of Toronto and the Dominion Bank in 1955.

3. Bank of Nova Scotia

The Bank of Nova Scotia, or Scotiabank, is the next largest bank in Canada with assets valued at C$998 billion as of late 2019, the revenue of C$28.8 billion in 2018 and capitalization of C$87.55 billion. The bank has over 23 million customers worldwide, 89,000 full-time employees and over 1,000 branches in Canada. This bank offers to trade on both the New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges.

Also founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia—this one in 1832—the bank moved its headquarters to Toronto in 1900 to improve the transAtlantic trade industry.

4. Bank of Montreal

The Bank of Montreal is the fourth largest Canadian bank with C$852.2 billion worth of assets in late 2019, the revenue of C$22.8 billion and capitalization of C$64.81 billion as of early 2020. The bank has over 7 million clients in Canada and 939 branches. The bank has over 47,000 employees. It was founded in 1817 and is the oldest bank in Canada. Throughout crises such as World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, the Bank has consistently met dividend payments.

5. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has C$597 billion in assets, the revenue of C$17.834 billion for 2018, and capitalization of C$48.01 billion. The bank has over 11 million clients worldwide, 1,100 branches in Canada and over 44,000 full-time employees worldwide. The bank was formed in 1961 when the Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada merged.

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U.S. lawmakers press GM CEO on California emissions

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General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra faced questions from U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday on a workers’ vote at a company plant in Mexico and the company’s support for emissions reductions.

Barra met with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other senior Democrats on Capitol Hill, and touted the company’s decision announced earlier in the day to boost spending on electric and autonomous vehicles to $35 billion through 2025.

“We’re committed to an all-EV future,” Barra said in brief comments to Reuters after the meeting. “We had a lot of conversations about a lot of things that we can do to enable EV adoption.”

Until November, GM backed the Trump administration’s effort to block California from setting tougher emissions standards than the federal government.

Pelosi had expressed disappointment with GM’s support for Republican President Donald Trump’s position on the emissions rules, a source briefed on the matter said, and she urged GM to work with California and the Biden administration to reach the strongest possible vehicle emissions standards.

The administration of Democratic President Joe Biden is set to unveil revised vehicle emissions rules in July.

GM said last week it backs emissions reductions outlined in a 2019 deal struck between California and other major automakers, but wants the federal government to endorse changes to speed the adoption of electric vehicles.

Barra also faced questions about a delayed worker vote at a GM plant in Silao, Mexico.

Mexico’s Labor Ministry scrapped an initial union-led vote in April, citing “serious irregularities,” and later ordered the GM union to hold a new ballot within 30 days of its May 11 statement. No vote has been scheduled

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office in May asked Mexico to review potential labor abuses at the Silao plant under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Last month, U.S. Representatives Dan Kildee, Bill Pascrell and Earl Blumenauer, all Democrats, pressed GM to answer questions about potential abuses in Mexico.

“We want to see some real demonstration of embracing the labor standards in Mexico — more than compliance,” Kildee told Reuters after the meeting. “The situation in Silao — I raised that with Mary — that’s a problem.”

The Democrats urged GM to commit to providing workers with physical copies of the contract, publicly posting contracts and to meet other requirements.

Kildee offered additional steps GM could take to support workers and meet USMCA requirements, and the three lawmakers followed up with a written list of suggested actions, congressional aides said.

The suggestions “would be tangible demonstrations of GM’s commitment to lead on compliance with the new labor standards,” Kildee told Reuters.

Earlier Wednesday, some House lawmakers on a trade panel, including Kildee, had a virtual meeting with Mexico’s ambassador to the United States in which the GM labor issued was raised.

 

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Presenting Your Professional Experience: Numbers Are Your Friends

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Numbers rule the business world—revenue, headcount, process time, value increase, number of clients, inventory count, profit margin, credit rating, customer satisfaction score. Numbers indicate and measure success or failure, whether a business activity is positive or negative to the bottom line. You’d be hard-pressed to find a business decision made without some factoring in of “the numbers,” be it stats, cost, the potential return on investment.

 

Hiring is a business decision.

 

To make a strong case for yourself (Envision your selling features.) throughout your resume use numbers, the language of business, to quantify your results and establish yourself as someone who can bring value to an employer. Using numbers shows you understand how companies operate and that they exist to make a profit. Most importantly, using results-achieved numbers displays your value.

 

Which job seeker displays better value?

 

Candidate 1: Duties included taking field measurements and maintaining records, setting up and tracking project using Microsoft Project.

 

Candidate 2: Spearheaded the Hazzard County water decontamination project, finishing $125,000 under budget due to a 25% decrease in staff allocation time.

 

Which job seeker gives a clearer picture of their responsibilities?

 

Candidate 1: Supervised team leaders.

 

Candidate 2: Supervised 3 team leaders, collectively responsible for 40 CSRs answering 1,750 – 2,500 calls daily.

 

Which job seeker shows their work ethic?

 

Candidate 1: Completed first editing pass on articles.

 

Candidate 2: Reviewed and evaluated 50 – 75 articles per week, deciding whether to reject the article, forward it to the editorial team, or send it back to the author with revision suggestions.

 

Information quantified means something. Information not quantified is just an opinion. Most resumes are just a list of opinions, thus quantifying your professional experience will set you apart from your competition.

 

TIP: Always use bullets, not paragraphs, to describe your professional experiences.

 

For each position you list on your resume, ask yourself:

 

  • Did I increase my employer’s revenue? How?
  • Did I save my employer money?
  • Did I save time?
  • Was my boss(es), colleagues, staff, customers, vendors, and leadership team members happier because of me?
  • How did I contribute to improving my employer’s business?

 

When answering these questions, quantify (percentage, range, monetary, frequency, before/after comparison, ratio). Creating a resume that WOWs requires filling it with quantified results-rich statements.

 

  • Reduced customer complaints by 47% by implementing a formal feedback system.
  • Improved product delivery time 22% after assigning clarified monthly job tasks to team members.
  • In 2020, grew revenue 33%, and improved gross margin by 22%, by standardizing business operating procedures.
  • Produced $1.75M in cost-savings after renegotiating the company’s supply and service contracts (14 vendors).
  • Built sales organization from the ground up, hiring and training 15 sales representatives within 6 months.
  • In 2019, generated over $7.25M in additional revenue by identifying, pursuing, and securing 4 new international contracts.

 

As I mentioned a few columns back, your resume must clearly and succinctly answer one question: How did you add or bring value to your employers? When it comes to answering this question, numbers are your friends.

 

Something to keep in mind: The king of numbers, the only metric in business that matters, the one that keeps a business alive and profitable, is revenue. As much as possible, throughout your resume and cover letter, demonstrate the results you’ve achieved that were added value to your employer’s financial success.

 

Don’t write on your resume what’s become a cliche, “result-oriented.” Don’t write it on your LinkedIn profile. Don’t say it during an interview. Show your results! “In 2017, I increased sales by 29% by creating upsell opportunities for my 8-member sales team to offer.”

 

Additional tips when bulleting your professional experience:

 

  • Employment dates need to be month/year. Only indicating years is a red flag you’re trying to cover up employment gaps.
  • Under 2 Lines. Your bullets shouldn’t be more than 2 lines.
  • The first 5 – 8 words are critical. When skimming a resume, the reader will likely read the first few words of a bullet then, unless their interest is piqued, move on to the next bullet. The first few words need to be captivating.

 

Next week I’ll cover presenting your education, skills, and certifications. These need to demonstrate your career path, not that you simply attended classes.

______________________________________________________________

 

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

 

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