Alibaba's Jack Ma: investors and entrepreneurs like husbands and wives - break-ups common

BEIJING Tue May 13, 2014 12:16pm IST

Jack Ma, chairman of China's largest e-commerce firm Alibaba Group, delivers an speech during a corporate event at the company's headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province April 23, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files

Jack Ma, chairman of China's largest e-commerce firm Alibaba Group, delivers an speech during a corporate event at the company's headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province April 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria/Files

Related Topics

A statue of Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, is carried in a taxi to a place of worship on the first day of the ten-day-long Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai August 29, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival

During Ganesh Chaturthi idols will be taken through the streets in a procession accompanied by dancing and singing, and will be immersed in a river or the sea in accordance with Hindu faith.  Slideshow 

BEIJING (Reuters) - Jack Ma, the founder and executive chair of Alibaba Group Holding [IPO-ALIB.N], said investors and entrepreneurs can fall out like domestic couples squabbling over their children in a blog post published late on Monday as the Chinese e-commerce juggernaut prepares for its blockbuster initial public offering.

"The relationship between investors and entrepreneurs is like a couple's, nobody can say who is taking advantage of the other," Ma said in an emoticon-filled post, written on Alibaba's mobile social networking app Laiwang.

"Also, it is common for them to quarrel and break up because they have different opinions over how to raise and educate their child," he said.

Alibaba, the world's biggest e-commerce company, is preparing for its U.S. IPO after filing its prospectus last week. This has the potential to be the biggest tech company listing yet, according to analysts, surpassing Facebook Inc's $16 billion filing in 2012.

"Investors know they aren't your guardian angel," Ma continued. "The reason they invest in you isn't because they're kind-hearted."

In a letter Ma sent to employees before the IPO filing, Ma emphasized that shareholders were not his priority. "After the IPO we'll still uphold the policy of 'customers first, employees second, and shareholders third,'" he wrote.

Ma's chequered past with investors has raised concerns among some ahead of the IPO.

In 2011 a decision to spin off Alipay, the online payment arm of then-listed Alibaba.com, caused a row between the company and major stakeholders Yahoo Inc and Softbank Corp.

Alibaba, Yahoo and SoftBank settled the matter in 2011, but not before David Einhorn, the Greenlight Capital hedge fund manager, sold all of his Yahoo shares in frustration at what he deemed mutual "finger-pointing" between the companies.

"Finding money is difficult, finding intelligent money is even harder, and finding a way to harmoniously coexist and develop with your investors after the investment is the hardest," said Ma in Monday's post.

(Reporting by Paul Carsten and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Anti-trust Probe

Reuters Showcase

New iPhone

New iPhone

New Apple iPhone to have "mobile wallet" function - Bloomberg  Full Article 

Wearable Gadgets

Wearable Gadgets

Swatch prefers go-it-alone route for smartwatch plans.  Full Article 

Google Drones

Google Drones

Google tests drones for deliveries.  Video 

Hot Commodity

Hot Commodity

Data scientists are increasingly becoming important to the world's tech companies.  Video 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage