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szdaily -> Business_Markets -> 
Alibaba pulls back investment in US
    2018-06-29  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

ALIBABA Group Holding Ltd. is scaling back its presence in Silicon Valley, a sign that the Trump administration’s crackdown on Chinese investment in U.S. companies is casting a chill.

After a flurry of dealmaking, Alibaba’s corporate venture arm has announced only one fresh investment in the United States this year, leading a US$26.4 million funding round in a New York and Tel Aviv data-analysis startup called SQream Technologies. And that’s a tiny deal compared with the hundreds of millions Alibaba lavished on high-profile U.S. firms such as Magic Leap, Jet.com and Snap Inc.

Earlier this year, the company lost its top U.S. dealmaker, Michael Zeisser, according to sources familiar with the matter. Rather than hiring an outside replacement, Alibaba is promoting Peter Stern, who used to be an investment banker at Credit Suisse, the sources said.

Alibaba’s pullback coincides with escalating tensions between the United States and China. The Trump administration has been cracking down on Chinese investments in U.S. technology, from takeovers to venture capital funding rounds. On Tuesday, administration officials said Trump wants Congress to give expanded powers to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, which reviews foreign takeovers.

Earlier this year, Ant Financial, the payments giant spun out of Alibaba, abandoned plans to buy MoneyGram International after the CFIUS blocked the transaction on national security grounds.

“Given the current environment, it remains to be seen what investments they can make without the CFIUS getting against them,” said Hans Tung, managing partner at GGV Capital, an early investor in Alibaba. Going “where they’re more welcomed makes more sense.” (SD-Agencies)

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