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

Inside the Peshawar school

Inside the Peshawar school

The aftermath inside the Pakistan school where at least 132 students and nine staff members were killed by Taliban gunmen.  Pictures 

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:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

26/11 Accused

26/11 Accused

Pakistan to appeal bail for Mumbai attack "mastermind".  Full Article 

Android For cars

Android For cars

Exclusive: Google aiming to go straight into car with next Android – sources.  Full Article 

Mass Stabbing

Mass Stabbing

Eight children killed in Australia in reported mass stabbing.  Full Article 

In Distress

In Distress

Former SpiceJet owner leading rescue plan: reports.  Full Article 

PM's Moves

PM's Moves

Modi moves in to speed up $300 billion stuck projects.  Full Article 

Losing Popularity

Losing Popularity

Dalai Lama's star waning in the West, China official says.  Full Article 

Tis' The Season

Tis' The Season

Stars around the world wish you Happy Holidays.  Video 

Cyber Warfare

Cyber Warfare

For N.Korea's cyber army, long-term target may be telecoms, utility grids.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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