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Is This Taiwanese Guy Bigger Than Bezos?

Stashed in: China!, Commerce, Jeff Bezos, Alibaba

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But it might not have happened without Joe Tsai, the sophisticated, American-trained lawyer and finance guy with a foot in both East and West and the smarts to cut a good deal. This is not just a Chinese company.

“He’s very personable. Relatively humble. Very gracious. Very smart. Very decisive,” says a U.S. business executive who’s sat on the other side of the negotiating table from Tsai. “That partnership [with Ma] is worth a fortune.”

Literally. Alibaba websites grossed $5.75 billion on China’s Cyber Monday in November, compared to a measly $1.74 billion in the U.S. for all retailers, according to Retail Net Group. And unlike Amazon, Alibaba makes a solid net profit: $707 million last year in the second quarter, compared to a $7 million loss at Amazon. Educated guesses at what the company is worth have topped $150 billion.

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