Friday, September 22, 2006

The Economist discovers Jack

I suppose if you are 160 years old, you can be forgiven for moving slowly. So, the wide-eyed piece in this week's Economist about's "Alifest" annual meeting in Hangzhou seems to have caught on to news a bit late.

However, it does contain some interesting tidbits:

1. It quotes as projecting revenues of $200 million this year.
2. Meg Whitman is claimed to have decided to by Skype after having seen the instant messaging features built into when she was in China.
3. Jack Ma needed six bodyguards to escort him from a recent meeting in the Great Hall of the People such was the crowd waiting to greet him.

Some of this may even be true.

The Economist's correspondent is not the only one who comes over as wide-eyed in this piece. Bob Peck, a Bear Stearns analyst is quoted saying "“Jack is not just a Chinese visionary, but a global one. Western companies are taking pages from the Alibaba book.”

But, to be fair, the piece does end with a good piece of standard Economist common sense in its last sentence. "He will have to tackle profitability if he is really to call the tune", it says. Quite so, although the model is looking good so far.

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