Business / Technology

Alibaba establishes $129 million fund in HK for startups

By Xie Yu (China Daily) Updated: 2015-02-03 08:14

Alibaba establishes $129 million fund in HK for startups

Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. [Photo provided to China Daily]

E-commerce magnate Jack Ma has not only set an example to aspiring Hong Kong entrepreneurs but also offered to help them with funding and, more importantly, a ready platform to tap the vast mainland marketplace.

In an earlier statement, New York-listed and Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, of which Ma is founder and chairman, said that it has established a HK$1 billion ($129 million) fund to help Hong Kong entrepreneurs set up startups on the mainland company's e-commerce platform.

The fund was set up with the help and advice from Hong Kong's former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa. In an earlier interview, Tung said that Ma was "deeply concerned about the situation in the special administrative region and was willing to help out".

What is more, Alibaba said it will provide internship opportunities for 200 graduates in Hong Kong each year to work in the company's e-commerce ecosystem.

Ma said that the newly launched fund aims at motivating young people to develop their creativity and entrepreneurship so that they can benefit from the many opportunities brought about by modern technology.

The core purpose of the fund is to help Hong Kong entrepreneurs build their startups on Alibaba's e-commerce platforms, including Taobao, through which they can sell their products and services to mainland consumers.

The fund, expected to be launched later this year, will invest in companies started by young people after selection by a panel of investment managers and advisers who run the program. The entrepreneurs would have access to capital and technical assistance as they develop their businesses.

While in Hong Kong, Ma seemed unperturbed by the controversies at home and in the United States that have been troubling his company and sent its share prices tumbling on the New York bourse.

"Alibaba is still a young company. We are only 15 years old. And we have been making mistakes," he said during the speech to Hong Kong youngsters.

At home, Alibaba is entangled in a dispute with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, which has questioned the quality of the products sold on the company's platforms. In the US, Alibaba is facing the possibility of a class-action lawsuit filed by disgruntled investors alleging discrepancies in the company's IPO prospectus.

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