Alibaba’s row with regulators
Alibaba came under brief scrutiny from the Chinese commerce regulator this week, before a report criticizing the firm’s efforts to deter the selling of counterfeit products on its site was promptly played down. The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) alleged on Wednesday that Alibaba was not doing enough to eradicate counterfeit goods from its site.
However, two days later the SAIC backtracked on its claims, saying the report had no legal force. “The most recent SAIC posting speaks for itself. We feel vindicated,” Alibaba’s statement said in response.
This week Alibaba’s share price was hit after the company’s quarterly earnings failed to match the high expectations of analyst. The company’ revenue stood at $4.22 billion, a 40% rise from the previous year but lower than the $4.45 billion predicted by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Shares fell as much as 10% on Thursday.
Apple catching Samsung
The dynamics of the smartphone market are shifting, with Apple closing the gap in smartphone shipments on its South Korean rival, Samsung.
Apple sold 74.5 million smartphones worldwide, according to data research firm Strategy Analytics, boasting a 20% market share in the final three months of 2014. In contrast, Samsung posted its first annual earnings decline in three years, due largely in part to a sharp fall in mobile sales. Samsung’s mobile phone sales fell 21% in 2014.
Apple posted a record profit of $18 billion for the quarter ending December 28, the largest quarterly profit reported by any public company in history.
Amazon turns on the profits
Online retail giant Amazon has had an up and down relationship with its investors. Notorious for expanding its business rather than increasing profits,, the company came under intense scrutiny at the end of 2014 for not delivering profits. But in the last quarter of 2014, Amazon reported earnings of $214 million, or 45 cents per share, easily beating Wall Street expectation of 18 cents.
An 8% rise in shares during after hour trading in the aftermath of the announcement suggests investors’ concerns are at least temporarily appeased.
Another of the company’s investments, videogame and video broadcast platform Twitch Interactive, reached one million viewers per month by the end of December 2014. That number is more than double the 45 million viewers attracted per month a year ago, according to the Wall Street Journal. Twitch, which launched into a saturated market with the likes Google’s YouTube competing for gamers’ attention, is one of Amazon’s many investment projects gaining traction.
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The week in numbers
Meta raises $23m for augmented reality glasses
CloudBees grabs $23.5 million round of funding
TransferWise raises $58m for currency exchange service