Alibaba challenges Silicon Valley

by John Seiler | September 22, 2014 12:44 pm

Alibaba logoUntil now, Silicon Valley’s high-tech companies ruled the roost, leaving IBM behind years ago, with only Washington-based Microsoft among the top firms outside the Valley. Now they’re being challenged by Chinese-based Alibaba, which just issued a record IPO[1].

Although values have fluctuated, on its first day on the market Alibaba’s market capitalization was $225 billion, more than Facebook, and lower only than Apple, Google and Microsoft.

I’ve read several biographies of Silicon Valley bigshots. There really is a vibe there. The late Steve Jobs often got together with Larry Ellison of Oracle, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and other tech titans. They all lived near one another and attend family events, shop talk included.

Alibaba is based in Hangzhou, the People’s Republic of China. So it’s showing how success outside the Valley can be achieved.

This is a challenge to California’s belief that its tech firms always will be No. 1, no matter how high the taxes or onerous the regulations. That may not be the case any longer.

Of course, nowhere matches Califorinia’s incomparable weather. But Hangzhou doesn’t sound bad, according to Travel China Guide[2]:

Hangzhou weather is generally warm and mild year round, with abundant sunshine and rainfall. There are four clear-cut seasons – a short and rainy spring, a hot and humid summer, a cool and clear autumn, and a dry and cold winter.

There are two rainy seasons in the region – one is the Plum Rain Season beginning in late June through early July; the other comes with heavy rains and potential typhoons in August and September.

Typhoons aren’t great. Then again, they might be better than record drought.

Overall, Alibaba’s rise is a warning to California to get its act together. Or make all California schoolchildren learn Mandarin.

  1. record IPO:
  2. Travel China Guide:

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