BEIJING / Bloomberg
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma and Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai will bolster the companyâ€™s share buyback as they agreed to spend $500 million of their own money purchasing stock in a vote of confidence for the e-commerce operator.
The billionaire co-founder and his lieutenant will bankroll the purchase of shares currently trading at $66.91, Alibaba said in an e-mailed statement Monday. The company announced in August Maâ€™s and Tsaiâ€™s intention to contribute to a $4 billion buyback without specifying how much they would spend.
Alibaba is trading below its initial public offering price of $68 after plunging 20 percent in the past year as it grapples with slowing growth, the result of its reliance on a decelerating Chinese economy. Itâ€™s getting squeezed by price cuts and competition in bigger cities, while facing lawsuits amid challenges in dealing with counterfeits.
As Chinaâ€™s largest online emporium, Alibaba is the standard-bearer for an economy thatâ€™s navigating a bumpy transition from a high-speed export economy to one anchored by consumer spending.