Alibaba Tops Facebook As the World’s Sixth Most Valuable Company

Alibaba Tops Facebook As the World’s Sixth Most Valuable Company

Alibaba’s market value has risen above Facebook on the New York and Hong Kong markets, making the Chinese company the sixth most valuable in the world.

The ecommerce and cloud giant’s shares rose 10 percent in the Hong Kong market to close at a record HK$261.60, after it went up nine percent in New York overnight at US$257.68. Alibaba owned SCMP reported.

The gains gave the company about HK$5.614 trillion (US$720 billion) in market capitalization, above Facebook’s US$694.53 billion.

Analysts believe the development is as a result of coronavirus induced downturns in social media ads, and recent decision by businesses to pull their ads from Facebook in protest of its handling of hate and racial posts on the platform.

Alibaba’s stock has been on the “buy” recommendation by financial analysts, even at the target price of HK$307 per share.

Jeffries analysts led by Thomas Chong said Alibaba has shown strong execution in multiple business models enabling expectation of solid results in the June quarter.

“Alibaba shows strong execution with multiple business models, and is at the sweet pot of a recovery story backed by strong technological strengths. In the June quarter, we expect it to deliver solid results with core marketplace as a strong cash cow and customer management revenue offering high [return on investment] to merchants. We expect a strong recovery in the quarter,” he said

According to analysts tracked by Bloomberg, Alibaba has 21 “buys” and no “hold” or “sell” with a consensus target price of HK$263.39. SCMP reported that it was the first of a growing number of Chinese companies listed in the US to do a secondary listing in Hong Kong.

Tencent Holdings also got on the list of high performing companies, being the only other Chinese company to make the list of world’s top 10 performing stocks. Its capitalization stood at HK$5.38 trillion based on its latest closing price of HK$563 per share.

Saudi Aramco remains the most valuable company in the world with a market value of US$1.77 trillion. The oil giant has maintained the lead since its December 2019 Initial Public Offering (IPO), which was the biggest in history.

Other companies in the trillion value zone include Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet, following the lead of Aramco. However, the other big five, Alibaba, Facebook, Tencent, Berkshire Hathaway and Visa found themselves in the billion dollars value zone. Berkshire Hathaway has US$440 billion in capitalization while Visa has US$379 billion.

Against the backdrop, Tencent founder Pony Ma Huateng remains the richest person in China and 18th in the world, with an estimated wealth put at US$54.4 billion, ahead of Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma, who is second in china and 19th in the world, with US$2.5 billion, according to data published by Bloomberg.

The sudden rise in Alibaba’s shares is attributed to coronavirus pandemic that shifted interest to ecommerce which has defied the shutdowns to avail people the opportunity to shop online. Investors saw ecommerce industry as a place of refuge against the brute spikes of the pandemic.

But some analysts said it may not hold for long.

On the other hand, Facebook has found itself in a challenging situation that may make its rebound difficult. The social media giant seems insouciant about the decision of ad buyers to boycott the platform. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Facebook staff that advertisers who walked away will come back even if the company does not work to address any of the concerns they raised.

Last week, Facebook lost $70 billion as a result of revenue plunge from ads and altercation in the relationship between the platform and ad buyers.

On Wednesday, campaigners and civil rights groups said their meeting with Facebook executives is a “disappointment” and that the company isn’t ready to address the platform’s ‘vitriolic hate.’

The advocacy groups said Facebook made no attempt during their meeting to address nine out of their 10 demands.

“Instead of actually responding to the demands of dozens of the platform’s largest advertisers that have joined the #StopHateForProfit ad boycott during the month of July, Facebook wants us to accept the same old rhetoric, repackaged as a fresh response,” the groups said.

Zuckerberg had said earlier that yielding to the demands of the advocacy groups may set a precedent that will hunt Facebook in the future, that it may create a situation where everyone will start making demands and expects the company to yield to them.

However, it is not clear what will happen at the end of July when the one month boycott warning expires. If the movement to boycott Facebook continues, it may put the company in a situation where other online companies will overtake it in value.

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