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Yahoo: Why Do Jack Ma and Alibaba Really Want It?

Jack Ma wants Yahoo. He wants it bad. He also wants to buy back Yahoo’s 40 percent stake in his Alibaba Group, owner of Yahoo China and a myriad of B2B and e-commerce sites. But why?

Why buy a floundering former search giant? The answer is: Ma has a mobile OS, now a second rev of a Tegra2 based smartphone and, reportedly, a cloud-based tablet due in November. The goal, and we’re not taking a huge leap here, would be to transform Yahoo into a global company, ala Google, that does hardware, software, operating systems, e-commerce, you name it. I suppose a social network is next.

What we are seeing now is the big players — Google, Microsoft, Apple and, yes, Yahoo with Alibaba, making a go for owning a whole, global Internet experience. Sounds ambitious. But not unlikely.

Last week Ma, a Fortune-listed billionaire worth approximately 1.7 billion, told an audience at AllThingsD in Asia what is apparently half of the story.

“Well,” Ma said. “I think Yahoo is so important to us, and we are also very important to Yahoo. And Yahoo is also so important to the industry. And we, you know, we’ve been thinking about that for a long time, we talked to Yahoo for a long time, and of course we know there is something that we can add value to Yahoo.”

Ma says he is now waiting for Yahoo’s next move. If he wants it badly enough, he will counter the counter and get it. Fascinating, considering that Ma, at a speech last month at Stanford University, told the audience that “he owned China” and paying wouldn’t be an issue.

And Ma, worth about $1.6 billion according to the most recent Forbes Billionaires list, is uniquely positioned to make that happen.

Alibaba Group and its affiliated entities now have more than 22,000 employees across some 70 cities and regions, including China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Jack Ma

Image Courtesy: All Things D

According to documents, Alibaba Group employs more than 22,000 employees in China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Alibaba Group and its affiliates include:

Alibaba.com (HKSE: 1688) – publicly traded company in e-commerce for small businesses
Taobao Marketplace – consumer-2-consumer (C2C) e-shopping platform
Taobao Mall – business-2-consumer (B2C) online retail marketplace
eTao – search engine designed for online shoppers
Alibaba Cloud Computing – advanced data-centric cloud computing services platform
China Yahoo! – one of China’s leading internet portals
Alipay – third-party online payment platform

For more info on what Ma plans for the future of his new Aliyun OS, the mobile OS behind the second version of the Aliyun smartphone unveiled today, check out this translated piece from Chinese news outlet xinhuanet.

Check out the highlights from the All Things D interview with Jack ma.

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