Chinese ride-hailing company Didi became a retail favorite on its first day of trading

didi dirver
Reuters/Jason Lee

  • Didi has become a retail-investor favorite on its first day of trading, Fidelity data show.
  • The stock topped retail buys in Exela Technologies and AMC Entertainment.
  • Shares of the Chinese ride-hailing company surged as much as 28% during its IPO Wednesday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Chinese ride-hailing company Didi has already become a retail-trader favorite in its first day on the public markets, Bloomberg first reported.

According to data from Fidelity, Didi shares ranked number one among retail traders Wednesday, while Exela Technologies, which has seen heightened interest from Reddit investors this week, was second, and well-known meme-stock AMC Entertainment was third.

Didi had more than 32,000 buy orders as of 3:15 p.m. in New York, compared to Exela and AMC, which each had about a third of that, the data showed.

Didi’s debut is the second largest among Chinese companies, after e-commerce giant Alibaba’s initial public offering in 2014. The shares soared as much as 28% in their first day of trading, giving Didi an approximate $86 billion valuation, Markets Insider reported.

The valuation makes Didi the second largest ride-hailing app in the world after Uber, which is valued at $93 billion.

Rumors about a potential IPO spread for several years before the company eventually filed its prospectus earlier this month, Fortune reported. Among Didi’s largest shareholders are investment firm SoftBank, which has a 21.5% stake, Uber, which has a 12.8% stake, and Tencent, which has a 6.8% stake, Fortune said.

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From Tesla to Workhorse, here are the 50 most popular stocks among retail investors on Robinhood

GettyImages 1291817095
Robinhood is hugely popular among day traders, putting it at the center of the GameStop frenzy

Robinhood has been the poster child of the commission-free trading movement that has drawn a new generation of investors into the stock market, and its user base skews heavily to Millennial and Gen Z investors. From iconic companies like Apple, to upstarts looking to disrupt whole industries, here are the top 50 stock picks among Robinhood users.

50. Workhorse

Workhorse Truck
Workhorse

Workhorse, the Loveland, Ohio-based electric-vehicle maker, has become a retail favorite among other auto manufacturers, like Lordstown Motors and Canoo.

49. Boeing

Inside the cockpit of Boeing 757 testbed aircraft - Honeywell Aerospace Boeing 757 testbed aircraft
Thomas Pallini/Insider

Shares of the plane-maker have rallied more than 12% so far this year.

48. Zynga

Zynga Peak
Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The mobile-gaming company sees more than $1 billion in sales opportunity if it expands beyond mobile games to consoles and computers, Bloomberg reported.

47. Uber

Uber
Photo by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Shares of the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company have been barely changed so far this year.

46. United Airlines

Flying United Airlines during pandemic
Thomas Pallini/Insider

The airline slumped amid the COVID-19 pandemic but has turned around as air travel picks back up.

45. SPDR S&P 500 ETF

A number of value stocks have been surging on the S&P 500 in 2021.
Kena Betancur/VIEWpress

The ETF tracking the benchmark index has risen about 15% so far this year.

44. NVIDIA

nvidia impressive ceos 2x1
Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia. Nvidia; Skye Gould/Insider

The chip and graphics card producer has rallied more than 50% year-to-date.

43. General Motors

General Motors headquarters Detroit
Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The automaker is among a slew of others in the industry that retail traders have rallied behind.

42. Coca-Cola

Coca-cola billboard
Peter Macdiarmid/Reuters

Shares of the Atlanta-based beverage company have rebounded from a slump earlier this year.

41. Vanguard S&P 500 ETF

Vanguard vs Fidelity
MoMo Productions

The exchange-traded fund has rallied 14% so far this year.

40. Norwegian Cruise Line

The Norwegian Prima cruise ship
Norwegian Cruise Line

The cruise industry was hit hard amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but shares of cruise operators are on the rebound as the world reopens.

39. Ideanomics

GettyImages 539998802
P. Steeger/Getty Images

Ideanomics, a small company focused on sustainability, has rallied alongside other meme stocks like GameStop this year.

38. Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic

The space tourism company has been a focus among Reddit retail traders for months. Shares soared in May after the company announced its successful test flight.

37. FuelCell Energy

fuel cell
REUTERS/Hugh Gentry

The Danbury, Connecticut-based company creates “clean, efficient and affordable fuel cell solutions,” according to its website.

36. AT&T

AT&T
Brendan McDermid/Reuters

The media and telecommunications company based in Dallas is among retail-trader favorites on Robinhood.

35. Moderna

woman getting vaccine
A physician injects someone with the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

Moderna shares have rallied in recent days since the pharmaceutical company announced its COVID-19 vaccine should work against the Delta variant.

34. Starbucks

A Starbucks barista makes coffee in Florida.
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The popular Seattle-based coffee maker recently added oat milk-based drinks to its menu.

33. Twitter

Twitter logo over computer
NurPhoto/Getty Images

The social-media site has been a hub for retail traders exchanging ideas this year.

32. Advanced Micro Devices

austin amd
Jack Plunkett/AP

Advanced Micro Devices, a semiconductor company, is frequently mentioned on Reddit investing threads like Wall Street Bets.

31. Canopy Growth

canopy growth
REUTERS/Chris Wattie

The Canadian cannabis company is one of a handful of its kind that are among retail-trader favorites.

30. Facebook

facebook logo
Getty

The social media behemoth is now worth more than $1 trillion after a federal judge dismissed antitrust lawsuits against the company.

29. Tilray

Tilray marijuana
Tilray

The Canadian cannabis company has seen a lot of Reddit hype as retail investors look to position themselves for the possibility of legalization in the US.

28. Coinbase Global

The photo shows physical imitations of cryptocurrency
INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

Coinbase was the first major cryptocurrency exchange to go public on April 14.

27. Bank of America

BofA logo
Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Shares of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank have rallied about 36% so far this year.

26. OrganiGram

weed thc marijuana cbd cannabis
Olena Ruban/Getty Images

The Canadian cannabis company is one of several retail traders have hyped up.

25. Alibaba

alibaba jack ma NYSE
Alibaba went public on the NYSE in 2014. Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Shares of the Chinese e-commerce company have fallen about 2.6% this year.

24. Netflix

netflix
Photo Illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images

The streaming site recently launched an e-commerce store to sell items from popular shows like “The Witcher.”

23. Snap Inc.

Snapchat messaging application.JPG
REUTERS/Thomas White

Shares of the social site have rallied about 35% so far this year.

22. Delta Airlines

Delta Air Lines Airbus A320
A Delta Air Lines Airbus A320. Philip Pilosian/Shutterstock.com

The airline is among several others that struggled during the pandemic but has begun to rebound.

21. Churchill Capital Corp IV

money
Boonchai Wedmakawand/Getty Images

Shares of the special-purpose acquisition company have nearly tripled in price since going public earlier this year.

20. Palantir

Alex Karp - CEO of Palantir Alex Karp speaks to the press as he leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris, on May 23, 2018 after the "Tech for Good" summit, in Paris, France, on May 23, 2018.
Palantir CEO Alex Karp. Photo by Julien Mattia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Palantir CEO Alex Karp said the surveillance company is a favorite stock pick because the company respects the intelligence of the retail-trading community.

19. GoPro

GoPro Inc's founder and CEO Nick Woodman holds a GoPro camera in his mouth as he celebrates GoPro Inc's IPO at the Nasdaq Market Site in New York City, June 26, 2014.  REUTERS/Mike Segar
GoPro Inc’s founder and CEO Woodman holds a GoPro camera in his mouth as he celebrates GoPro Inc’s IPO at the Nasdaq Market Site in New York City. Thomson Reuters

The maker of wearable cameras has rallied 38% so far this year.

18. Zomedica

veterinarian
Westend61/Getty Images

The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company is focused on helping meet the needs of veterinarians, according to its website.

17. GameStop

gamestop store
John Minchillo/AP

GameStop was recently added to the Russell 1000 Index, a list of the largest companies based on market capitalization, thanks to its epic rally pushed by retail investors.

16. Carnival

carnival cruise
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The cruise line industry shuttered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but operators like Carnival are making a comeback as the pandemic recedes.

15. Aurora Cannabis

Aurora Cannabis
Alberta Cannabis Inc/Handout via REUTERS

Aurora is another Canadia cannabis company that retail traders have flocked to amid excitement over potential legalization in the US.

14. Pfizer

pfizer vaccine us
Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The pharmaceutical company has surged in popularity, largely thanks to the production of its COVID-19 vaccine.

13. Nokia

FILE PHOTO: Visitors gather outside the Nokia booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo
Reuters

Nokia has been looped into the basket of meme-stocks, like GameStop and AMC, that have gripped retail-traders attention this year.

12. Plug Power

Saudi Aramco hydrogen fueling station
Photo by Wang Haizhou/Xinhua via Getty Images

Plug Power, based in Latham, New York, is focused on creating hydrogen fuel cells to power vehicles.

11. American Airlines

American Airlines tails
American Airlines’ planes parked at a gate in Washington. Joshua Roberts/Reuters

The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline has rallied about 35% year-to-date.

10. Amazon

amazon warehouse truck shipping
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

The e-commerce giant is among the biggest companies in the world with a $1.7 trillion market capitalization.

9. Microsoft

Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella is the CEO of Microsoft. Sean Gallup: Getty Images

Microsoft is among the largest companies in the world with a $2 trillion market capitalization.

8. Disney

Disney World
The Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World, Florida. Roberto Machado Noa / LightRocket via Getty Images

Shares of the media and entertainment conglomerate have dropped about 3% so far this year.

7. NIO

Nio
STR/AFP via Getty Images

The Chinese electric-vehicle maker has rallied more than 600% in the past year.

6. General Electric

GE.
General Electric reports strong earnings. Hussein Faleh/Getty Images

Shares of the long-time company have been on the rise this year, rallying about 25%.

5. Ford

Biden Ford
President Joe Biden drives the new electric Ford F-150 lightning at the Ford Dearborn Development Center in Dearborn, Michigan on May 18, 2021. Nicholas Kamm/Associated Press

The legacy automaker garnered attention earlier this year when President Joe Biden floored one of its electric trucks.

4. Sundial Growers

Marijuana Cannabis
AP Photo/Steven Senne, File

Sundial, among other Canadian cannabis companies, is a favorite among retail traders.

3. AMC Entertainment

AMC stock
Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AMC Entertainment became a retail-trader favorite earlier this year, and led a rally in memes last month amid renewed interest in meme stocks.

2. Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook. Karl Mondon/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

The iPhone maker is the most valuable company in the world with a market cap of more than $2 trillion.

1. Tesla

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the unveiling of the new Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne, California on March 14, 2019.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Tesla’s Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has captured retail-trader attention in both his company and in the realm of cryptocurrencies.

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Alibaba billionaire founder Jack Ma is ‘lying low’ after a roller coaster year in which China cracked down on his tech empire

Jack Ma
Jack Ma.

  • Jack Ma is “fine,” an Alibaba executive said after the Chinese billionaire’s tumultuous year.
  • China pulled Ma’s record-breaking Ant IPO last fall after he publicly criticized the nation’s banking system.
  • Alibaba received a $2.8 billion antitrust fine, signaling an even greater crackdown on Ma’s tech empire.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma is “lying low right now” after the Alibaba and Ant Group founder had a whirlwind year that led to a pulled multi-billion-dollar IPO and a heavier regulatory crackdown.

Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai told CNBC Tuesday that Ma is “fine” and “doing very very well.” Tsai said he talks to him every day and said Ma has taken up painting.

Tsai did say it was important to separate what is going on with Ma and what’s happening with Alibaba at the moment. The executive also pushed back on the notion that Ma has “an enormous amount of power,” given the fact that the billionaire left Alibaba in 2019.

Ma’s Ant Group was once lauded as a disruptor in the booming fintech industry, and the company enjoyed massive growth thanks to little regulatory oversight in China.

The fintech company was poised to launch a $35 billion initial public offering in the fall of 2020 until Ma publicly criticized the nation’s lending methods and financial system at a conference. Chinese authorities stepped in and pulled the IPO, and reports later surfaced that Chinese President Xi Jinping personally instructed authorities to look into Ant following Ma’s comments.

The company was then ordered to restructure its business and “return to its payment origins.” And now, Ant will start running a new consumer banking company with greater oversight from the state.

Ant’s pulled IPO coincided with China’s new anticompetitive rules to rein in its homegrown tech companies. China also fined Alibaba $2.8 billion in April over concerns that it was abusing its dominant position in the online market.

The company said it “accepts the penalty with sincerity.”

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Warren Buffett’s right-hand man called Al Gore an ‘idiot.’ The former vice-president’s firm bought the same 2 stocks as Buffett and Charlie Munger last quarter.

al gore
Al Gore.

  • Warren Buffett’s business partner, Charlie Munger, mocked Al Gore’s intelligence in 2017.
  • Gore’s Generation firm and Munger’s Daily Journal both invested in Alibaba last quarter.
  • Generation and Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway both added Aon to their stock portfolios.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Warren Buffett’s right-hand man, Charlie Munger, once called Al Gore an “idiot” and “not very smart.” The former US vice-president’s investment firm bought the same two stocks that Buffett and Munger added to their portfolios last quarter.

Generation Investment Management, which Gore cofounded and chairs, boosted its stake in Alibaba by 94% to almost 3 million shares in the three months to March 31, regulatory filings show.

Daily Journal, a newspaper publisher that boasts Munger as its chairman and stock picker, established a stake in the Chinese e-commerce group last quarter as well. Alibaba was its only new position in the period.

Generation also invested in Aon in the first quarter. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, which counts Munger as its vice-chairman, bought into the professional-services firm too – the only new addition to its portfolio.

It’s also worth noting Gore sits on the board of Apple, Berkshire’s biggest holding and one of its most lucrative bets ever.

Munger disparaged Gore’s intelligence at Daily Journal’s annual meeting in 2017, according to GuruFocus. He wanted to underscore how surprising it was that Gore had made hundreds of millions of dollars from investing.

Gore, who starred in an “An Inconvenient Truth” and won a Nobel Peace Prize for raising awareness of the climate crisis, simply refused to invest in carbon-intensive companies, and partnered with a skilled value investor named David Blood. The upshot was that Generation invested in software and service companies such as Microsoft and delivered stellar returns, Munger said.

Generation’s long-term, sustainable investing approach has resulted in it owning billion-dollar stakes in Google-parent Alphabet, Cisco, Equifax, Charles Schwab, and Baxter International.

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Fidelity cuts Ant Group’s valuation in half to $144 billion after regulatory crackdown in China

Jack Ma Alibaba Founder China
Jack Ma, executive chairman of the Alibaba Group.

  • Fidelity cut Ant Group’s implied valuation to $144 billion from $300 billion, according to regulatory filings.
  • The decline in valuation comes after China imposed a regulatory crackdown on the fintech giant.
  • Fidelity initially invested in Ant Group in June 2018 at a $150 billion valuation.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

China’s regulatory crackdown of Ant Group in recent months has led Fidelity to cut its implied valuation of the fintech giant in half, according to regulatory filings first seen by The Wall Street Journal.

Fidelity’s implied valuation of Ant Group fell to $144 billion from $295 billion, according to the filing. Fidelity first invested in Ant Group in June 2018 at a valuation of $150 billion. The implied valuation represents a massive drop from last year’s expected IPO valuation of more than $310 billion.

Fidelity isn’t the only US money manager that invested in Ant Group prior to its IPO. BlackRock and T. Rowe Price invested between $200 million and $500 million in Ant Group as well.

Ant Group owns Alipay, a mobile payments app that handled $17 trillion worth of payment transactions last year and has seen explosive growth as it combines a number of financial offerings into a single app.

But China pulled the public debut of Ant Group days before its expected IPO in November following critical comments of international financial regulations from billionaire founder Jack Ma.

Since then, Ant Group has been subject to increased regulatory scrutiny as it competes against legacy financial institutions that are subject to higher capital requirements. Ant Group said it would apply to become a financial holding company overseen by the People’s Bank of China to help ease regulatory pressures.

The regulatory scrutiny of Ant Group has also spread to Jack Ma’s Alibaba, which was hit with a record $2.8 billion fine last month in an anti-monopoly probe.

“Alibaba accepts the penalty with sincerity,” the company said in a statement regarding the record fine. Alibaba owns about a third of Ant Group.

A Reuters report from last month suggested that Jack Ma is in talks give up his stake in Ant Group, which could help lessen regulatory scrutiny by the Chinese government. But an Ant Group spokesperson issued a statement to the outlet, saying Ma’s exit “has never been the subject of discussions with anyone.”

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Billionaire Jack Ma was one of China’s biggest success stories. The government turning on him speaks to an animosity against billionaires in the Communist country.

Jack Ma
  • China has cracked down on Jack Ma and his companies Ant Group and Alibaba recently.
  • The government may be targeting him, but China is also focused on reining in billionaires at large.
  • A wealth gap has widened, posing issues for the communist nation, which strives for distributed wealth.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

When Jack Ma’s Ant Group IPO was yanked by Chinese regulators last fall, it was easy to view it as merely a sign of China’s firm hand.

Ant had ballooned into an independent force alongside the state-controlled Chinese bank system, and the halted listing came just after Ma brazenly and publicly criticized the nation’s banking rules. Simply put, he spoke out against the country’s lack of a traditional financial system and the large role that the Party plays in lending money, as Nikkei Asia reported.

News later surfaced that Chinese President Xi Jinping personally instructed authorities to look into Ant. Now, Ant – which was once praised as a fintech disruptor on the global stage – will likely, eventually, be majorly run by the state.

But the government’s takedown of Ma may be indicative of a larger zeroing-in on billionaires in the country as an existing wealth gap grows wider, a gap that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Disdain for the Communist country’s affluent population has grown, as the New York Times reported, and the government is leaning into that anti-rich sentiment as it’s broken down the power constructs that Ma has built in the country.

A widening wealth gap in China

Communist China once embraced a more capitalist-friendly free market in the 1980s, and when it did, some citizens saw their wealth skyrocket, as Bloomberg reported in December. Solidified social classes emerged, making it easier for the wealthy to maintain and grow their fortunes – but also more difficult for lower-income people to get richer.

Today’s rising housing costs in China’s cities and a squeezed white-collar job market with lower pay presents problems for the country’s young and educated in securing financial stability, per the NYT report. Those woes have stirred an animosity of the wealthy in China – as Bloomberg reported, the children who were born into money now find themselves under the scornful eye of the nation’s leader.

Besides the US, China has the most billionaires out of every country in the world – 626 to be exact, according to Forbes. Beijing itself has more billionaires than any city in the world. But about 600 million of its 1.4 billion-strong population earn $150 a month or less, as the NYT notes.

Such economic disparities have caused political problems for the Chinese Communist Party, which strives to preserve an evenly distributed wealth system. And Ma, with his $50 billion in net worth, is among its targets.

With a widening wealth gap, and billionaires like Jack Ma exhibiting that their companies can grow into the powerhouses that they are, China is hell-bent on preventing “the disorderly expansion of capital,” as Chinese leadership said in December.

alibaba jack ma NYSE
Alibaba went public on the NYSE in 2014.

China is tightening its grip on its economy

China is singling out companies and figures across industries in its quest to rein in the economy, from Swedish retailer H&M to homegrown tech giants, which have largely enjoyed a lack of regulatory constraints.

The government rolled out a set of new anti-competitive behavior rules for internet companies like Alibaba in November. It included guidelines to prevent companies from sharing sensitive user data and from joining together to stomp out smaller competitors.

Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said shortly after that he welcomed the new rules. And last week, Chinese authorities fined Alibaba what equals $2.8 billion USD over concerns that it was abusing its dominant market position.

Read more: China’s antitrust probe into Alibaba could be an opportunity for other cloud players – including Amazon, Microsoft, and Google – to swoop in

China was hoping other tech giants would take it as a warning, and it looks like they have. About three dozen Chinese tech companies, including TikTok owner Bytedance, JD.com, and the Twitter-like Weibo, have vowed to adhere to China’s new anti-competitive laws, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. They are also pledging to keep the party’s values at the forefront of their minds in hopes of escaping Ma’s fate.

The Ma-China debacle signals that turbulent times may lie ahead for innovation in China, as the Communist Party and its leaders demand that the country’s business community put patriotism above all else.

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Alibaba Group hit with record $2.8 billion fine amid increased government scrutiny of billionaire Jack Ma’s tech empire

Jack Ma Alibaba Founder China
Jack Ma, executive chairman of the Alibaba Group.

  • Alibaba Group has been hit with a record $2.8 billion fine in China.
  • Billionaire founder Jack Ma’s tech empire has come under increased scrutiny from regulators.
  • “Alibaba accepts the penalty with sincerity,” the company said in a statement.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

China on Saturday fined Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group a record $2.8 billion for abusing its leading market position.

Alibaba Group said in a statement that the penalty came from the State Administration for Market Regulation, which had been investigating it since December.

The fine was yet another sign that Chinese regulators have taken a more critical stance towards the tech empire built by Ma, one of the country’s wealthiest moguls.

Speaking at a conference last fall, Ma made negative comments about international financial regulations. Chinese President Xi Jinping then reportedly halted a planned $37 billion initial public offering by Ant Group, another Ma company.

After the clash, Ma disappeared from public view for months. It was later reported by The Financial Times that he’d spent some of that time meeting with regulators.

The government on Saturday said Alibaba had used anti-competitive practices in its online retail market.

The fine was equal to about 4% of Alibaba’s annual sales in China, according to Xinhua News, a quasi-state media outlet. Local news reports said the company would be required for three years to complete “self-inspection” reports that it would then submit to the watchdog.

“Alibaba accepts the penalty with sincerity and will ensure its compliance with determination,” the company said Saturday in a press release.

It added: “To serve its responsibility to society, Alibaba will operate in accordance with the law with utmost diligence, continue to strengthen its compliance systems and build on growth through innovation.”

The company also published an open letter to customers, saying it had “fully cooperated” with the investigation.

“Alibaba would not have achieved our growth without sound government regulation and service, and the critical oversight, tolerance and support from all of our constituencies have been crucial to our development,” the company said.

The 18 billion yuan fine was a record for China, surpassing the $975 million fine issued to Qualcomm in 2015, as Reuters reported at the time.

Alibaba will hold a conference call on Monday to discuss the penalty.

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Cathie Wood says she sees potential in disruptive Chinese tech firms, even though their shares have tumbled recently

A Hisense chip is on display during the Appliance & Electronics World Expo (AWE) 2021 at National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai)
  • The CEO of Ark Invest said “disruptive innovation platforms” in China were now competing with those in the US.
  • Speaking at a webinar, she said she was impressed by China’s commitment to driving innovation.
  • Chinese tech stocks are down, having been sold off heavily this month in volatile trade.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Cathie Wood, the CEO of Ark Invest, said she sees growth potential in “disruptive innovation platforms” in China and that they are competing with similar ventures in the US now. Chinese tech stocks have been trending downwards recently as they face legal and regulatory pressure.

Speaking at a webinar in collaboration with Li Yimei, chief executive of China Asset Management this month, she discussed China’s commitment to innovation and said the country’s platforms have made huge progress in area such as DNA sequencing, energy storage, artificial intelligence, blockchain and robotics, especially relating to productivity, “which is good for the entire economy,” IgnitesAsia quoted Wood as saying.

Wood, through her ARK Invest exchange-traded fund, was one of the top performing asset managers of 2020, thanks in large part to her bets on disruptive technology.

She said many Chinese platforms are now close competitors to those in the US, after having caught up in recent years. “Competition in technology is a really good thing, in terms of moving the technology forward faster than otherwise would have been the case,” she said.

She said she was impressed with the government’s collaboration with the private sector, as she believes this will further the development of microchips and artificial intelligence.

Wood also said it reflected the government’s commitment to electric vehicles “I’m very impressed that China allows Tesla into the country without a local manufacturer. It is so determined to have electric vehicles proliferate throughout China,” she said.

Chinese tech shares have tumbled recently. The Hang Seng Tech index, which contains a number of big Chinese tech names such as Alibaba, Tencent, and FoxConn, is one of the worst performers from among the major indices this year, with a loss of almost 3%, versus a 1.5% gain in the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100.

Performance has been highly volatile for months, as tech stocks are impacted by legal and regulatory changes. Recently, the sector fell after news of a potential government-backed company designed to oversee tech data. Tensions between the US and China and a “Cold Tech War” were also major risk factors, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said on Monday.

Wood’s Ark Invest published a note this week saying “Chinese technology companies are caught in political crosscurrents”, referring to the developments that have been causing stocks to crash. Ark Invest believes they will only cause “short term turmoil” and said “policies might accelerate or hinder the pace of innovation for a time, but we believe self-preservation probably will bring policymakers back to both tables.”

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Justin Sun postponed a $4.6 million lunch with Warren Buffett, plowed $10 million into GameStop stock, and lost out on a $69 million NFT. Here’s a look at the crypto whiz kid.

Justin Sun Warren Buffett
  • Crypto whiz kid Justin Sun postponed a $4.6 million charity lunch with Warren Buffett.
  • The Tron boss invested $10 million in GameStop and lost out on a $69 million NFT.
  • Here are eight things to know about the 30-year-old tech entrepreneur.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Crypto whiz kid Justin Sun has shot to fame in recent years for postponing a $4.6 million charity lunch with Warren Buffett, investing $10 million in GameStop during the buying frenzy, and losing out on a $69 million NFT during a Christie’s auction.

Sun is the boss of Tron and BitTorrent, the 28th and 63rd biggest cryptocurrencies with a combined market capitalization of more than $5 billion.

Here are eight things to know about the 30-year-old tech entrepreneur:

A protégé of Alibaba founder Jack Ma

JustinSun5
Alibaba founder Jack Ma

Justin Sun is a protégé of Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma. Sun’s oldest photo on Instagram shows him receiving a certificate from Ma. “Inspired by the best to shape the future for the better,” the caption reads.

Sun was the youngest member of the inaugural class at Hupan University, a Chinese business school founded by Ma in 2015, according to the South China Morning Post. Ma recruited 30 students who he believed could revolutionize the Chinese business world. Sun wrote his thesis on the blockchain industry, titling it “The Birth of a Decentralized Internet,” SCMP said. He graduated from Hupan in 2018.

An Ivy League graduate

university of pennsylvania

Sun graduated from Peking University with a bachelor’s degree in history in 2011, according to his LinkedIn page. Peking is China’s second-best university, according to Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings. Two years later, Sun earned a master’s degree in political economy from the University of Pennsylvania, one of eight prestigious US colleges that make up the Ivy League.

 

An entrepreneur and dealmaker

BitTorrent Data Belongs To You Billboard

Sun joined Ripple Labs as a chief representative and adviser in Greater China at the end of 2013, according to his LinkedIn page. He worked at the cryptocurrency startup — which has received backing from Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and other blue-chip investors — for just over two years. Sun also founded Callme or Peiwo, China’s largest voice live-streaming app, in 2013.

In July 2017, Sun founded the Tron Foundation, a blockchain company with its own cryptocurrency that is “dedicated to building the infrastructure for a truly decentralized Internet,” his LinkedIn page states. Less than a year later, Tron acquired BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file-sharing service, for around $126 million, according to TechCrunch. Sun currently serves as CEO of Peiwo, Tron, and BitTorrent, now known as Rainberry.

 

A millennial influencer

twitter on phone

Sun has a powerful presence on social media with more than 2.2 million Twitter followers. He’s also posted pictures of himself posing with celebrities such as Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

Forbes included Sun in its 30 under 30 Asia list in 2017, and in its 30 under 30 China list from 2015 to 2017, Sun wrote on his LinkedIn page. 

A crypto advocate

FILE PHOTO: Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration picture, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
FILE PHOTO: Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin virtual currencies are seen on motherboard in this illustration picture

Sun planned to use his meal with Buffett to convert the notorious skeptic of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into a true believer. Buffett has said Bitcoin has “no unique value” and will ultimately become worthless, and derided it as a “delusion” and “rat poison squared.” 

Sun executed a full-court press on Buffett during their dinner in January 2020. He invited eToro founder and CEO Yoni Assia, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee, and other crypto advocates to dine with them. He also gave Buffett a smartphone loaded with bitcoin and Tron, although Buffett later said he doesn’t own any cryptocurrencies.

A controversial figure

China Flag

After Sun announced he was rescheduling his lunch with Buffett, Chinese news outlet Caixin reported he was being held in China over accusations of illegal fundraising, gambling, money laundering, and pornography activities, citing a report by the 21st Century Business Herald.

Sun dismissed the allegations on Weibo and said he was being treated for kidney stones. “The illegal network fundraising was not true,” he wrote in Mandarin, adding that Tron “actively cooperated” with authorities to comply with regulatory requirements. He added that Tron complied with laws and regulations in Singapore, where it’s located, and the money-laundering allegation was “not true.”

A meme-stock fan

gamestop line

Sun invested $10 million in GameStop and $1 million in each of AMC and the iShares Silver Trust during the meme-stock frenzy in January 2021. He told Bloomberg that the Wall Street Bets movement represented a “paradigm shift” in finance, and suggested memes are the new fundamentals for the next generation of investors.

 

A NFT proponent

5,000 everydays artwork by Beeple, which was sold at Christies auction house for $69 million
“Everydays: The First 5000 Days” by Beeple, a digital artwork sold at Christie’s auction house for $69 million.

Sun was the runner up in the record-breaking Christie’s auction of a $69 million non-fungible token (NFT) in March 2021. He tried to bid $70 million for the digital artwork after he was outbid with 20 seconds to go, but his offer wasn’t received by Christie’s systems.

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Ant Group CEO Simon Hu has resigned from the Chinese fintech giant

Ant Group CEO Simon Hu
Ant Group CEO Simon Hu.

Ant Group CEO Simon Hu has resigned for personal reasons.

Bloomberg first reported the news on Friday. The company confirmed Hu’s resignation in a statement to Insider.

“The Ant Group Board of Directors has accepted Mr. Simon Hu’s resignation request, due to personal reasons,” a representative said. “We are thankful to Simon for the efforts he made at our company.”

Ant Group is an affiliate fintech company of the Chinese retail behemoth Alibaba. It operates the Alipay digital payments network and was founded by the Chinese billionaire Jack Ma.

Chairman Eric Jing will become CEO effective immediately, a source with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.

Alibaba fell by 2.5% in premarket trading on Friday.

Hu became Ant’s CEO in December 2019 after a year working as the group’s president.

Before that, he spent four years as the CEO of Alibaba Cloud Computing. He also founded AliFinance.

Hu’s resignation comes amid increasing scrutiny of Ant by Chinese regulators.

In November, Ant’s initial public offering, set to be the biggest ever, was suspended in Shanghai and Hong Kong following a meeting between Ma and Chinese regulators.

And in late December, China’s central bank and three financial watchdogs said they would urge Ant to implement stricter financial regulations for its banking services.

In January, The Wall Street Journal reported that the group planned to restructure itself as a financial holding company overseen by China’s central bank. This would subject it to stricter regulations.

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