Archiv der Kategorie: Wirtschaft

Alibaba and Amazon hit India

Source: https://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21730539-e-commerce-giants-are-trying-export-their-success-alibaba-and-amazon-look-go-global

IN SEPTEMBER 2014 Jeff Bezos announced his first big investment in India, hopping aboard a colourful bus in Bangalore. It was the start of a rapid $5bn investment in India, part of Mr Bezos’s plans to take Amazon global. Two months later Alibaba’s Jack Ma appeared in Delhi. “We will invest more in India,” he declared. The following year Alibaba put $500m into Paytm, an Indian digital-payments company. This year it led a fundraising round for Paytm’s e-commerce arm. The two giants seem set for an epic clash in India.

But in their home markets they have so far stayed out of each other’s way. Amazon has only a tiny business in China. Alibaba’s strategy in the United States has been to help American businesses sell in China and vice versa. “People always ask me, when will you go to the US?” says Alibaba’s CEO, Mr Zhang. “And I say, why the US? Amazon did a fantastic job.” The two firms have mostly invested in different foreign markets: Alibaba across South-East Asia and Amazon across Europe. But much of the rest of the world is still up for grabs.

The biggest tussles will probably be over growing economies and cross-border commerce. Alibaba aspires to serve 2bn customers around the world within 20 years—a benevolent empire that supports businesses. In some cases it has begun with digital payments, as in India with Paytm. In others it has invested in e-commerce sites, as with Lazada, in South-East Asia. But it intends to build a broad range of services within each market, including payments, e-commerce and travel services, and then link local platforms with Alibaba’s in China.

Mr Ma wants to enable small firms to operate just as nimbly as big ones on the global stage. Alibaba helps Chinese companies sell in places such as Brazil and Russia, and assists foreign firms with marketing, logistics and customs in China. Eventually it hopes to use its technology to link logistics networks around the world so that any product can reach any buyer anywhere within 72 hours. That is still a long way off, but it gives a glimpse of the company’s staggering ambition.

Amazon already earns more than one-third of its revenue from e-commerce outside North America. Germany is its second-biggest market, followed by Japan and Britain. This year it bought Souq, an e-commerce firm in the Middle East. Its criteria for expansion elsewhere include the size of the population and the economy and the density of internet use, says Russ Grandinetti, head of Amazon’s international business. India has been one of its main testing grounds.

Amazon, like Alibaba, also wants to help suppliers in any country to sell their products abroad. An Amazon shopper in Mexico, for instance, can buy goods from America. Mr Grandinetti sees such cross-border sales as an increasingly important component of Amazon’s value to consumers and sellers alike.

Yet both companies run the risk that strategies which did well in their home countries may not succeed elsewhere. In China, for instance, the popularity of e-commerce relied on a number of special factors. China’s manufacturers often found themselves with excess supplies of clothes and shoes; Alibaba provided a place to sell them. Alipay thrived because few consumers had credit cards. China has also benefited from having cheap labour and lots of big cities—more than 100 of them with over 1m people—creating a density of demand that made it worthwhile for logistics firms to build distribution networks.

As they expand, however, Amazon’s and Alibaba’s business models may shift and, in some markets, start to converge. So far the companies have differed in important ways. Amazon owns inventory and warehouses; Alibaba does not. But Alibaba has a broader reach than Amazon, particularly with Ant Financial’s giant payments business. As Amazon grows, it may become more like Alibaba. In India, for instance, regulations prevent it from owning inventory directly. And Amazon recently won a licence from the Reserve Bank of India for a digital wallet. Alibaba, for its part, may become more like Amazon. As the Chinese firm set its sights on South-East Asia, it invested in SingPost, Singapore’s state postal system. In September it became the majority owner in Cainiao, a Chinese logistics network, and said it plans to spend $15bn on logistics in the next five years.

Their advances may be slowed by other rivals. Smaller firms can flourish in niches. Flipkart, whose backers include Naspers and SoftBank, is competing fiercely with Amazon in India; the two companies routinely bicker over which has the bigger market share. Yoox Net-a-Porter, an online luxury-goods seller, is also expanding around the world.

Among the questions facing the two giants are whether other technology firms will pour more money into e-commerce, and what partnerships might emerge. Tencent’s WeChat Pay is already challenging Alipay in China. About one-third of WeChat’s users in China shop on that platform. Tencent is trying to recruit shops to accept its payment app in other countries, too, and recently took a stake in Flipkart. In deploying its services abroad, Tencent might get a helping hand from Naspers. The South African company owns about one-third of Tencent and has backed e-commerce firms around the world. Facebook is now muscling in on this business by making it easier for its users to buy goods through its messaging service as well as its other platforms, WhatsApp and Instagram.

The A-list still stands

For now, however, Amazon and Alibaba remain each other’s most formidable international rivals. Success in e-commerce requires scale, which needs lots of capital. Local e-commerce firms in India have come under pressure from investors to boost profitability. Amazon has no problems on that score. As Amit Agarwal, head of Amazon India, puts it: “We will invest whatever it takes to make sure we provide a great customer experience.”

Big firms also have a natural advantage as they expand, because technologies developed for one market can be introduced across many. “It’s like a Lego set,” says Lazada’s chief executive, Maximilian Bittner. He can use pieces of Alibaba’s model, such as algorithms for product recommendations, to improve Lazada’s operations. Amazon’s investments in machine learning have myriad applications anywhere in the world.

That does not mean that Amazon and Alibaba will dominate every country around the world, nor that they will crush every competitor. Bob Van Dijk, chief executive of Naspers, maintains there is room for many operators: “I don’t believe in absolute hegemony.” But given the two giants’ ambitions and the benefits of scale, they are bound to become more powerful and compete directly in more places. That has implications for all sorts of industries, but particularly the retail sector.

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Google introduces an ad blocker to Chrome – Filtering – Censorship?

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Google will introduce an ad blocker to Chrome early next year and is telling publishers to get ready.

The warning is meant to let websites assess their ads and strip any particularly disruptive ones from their pages. That’s because Chrome’s ad blocker won’t block all ads from the web. Instead, it’ll only block ads on pages that are determined to have too many annoying or intrusive advertisements, like videos that autoplay with sound or interstitials that take up the entire screen.

Sridhar Ramaswamy, the executive in charge of Google’s ads, writes in a blog post that even ads “owned or served by Google” will be blocked on pages that don’t meet Chrome’s guidelines.

Instead of an ad “blocker,” Google is referring to the feature as an ad “filter,” according toThe Wall Street Journal, since it will still allow ads to be displayed on pages that meet the right requirements. The blocker will work on both desktop and mobile.

Google is providing a tool that publishers can run to find out if their sites’ ads are in violation and will be blocked in Chrome. Unacceptable ads are being determined by a group called the Coalition for Better Ads, which includes Google, Facebook, News Corp, and The Washington Post as members.

Google shows publishers which of their ads are considered disruptive.

The feature is certain to be controversial. On one hand, there are huge benefits for both consumers and publishers. But on the other, it gives Google immense power over what the web looks like, partly in the name of protecting its own revenue.

First, the benefits: bad ads slow down the web, make the web hard and annoying to browse, and have ultimately driven consumers to install ad blockers that remove all advertisements no matter what. A world where that continues and most users block all ads looks almost apocalyptic for publishers, since nearly all of your favorite websites rely on ads to stay afloat. (The Verge, as you have likely noticed, included.)

By implementing a limited blocking tool, Google can limit the spread of wholesale ad blocking, which ultimately benefits everyone. Users get a better web experience. And publishers get to continue using the ad model that’s served the web well for decades — though they may lose some valuable ad units in the process.

There’s also a good argument to be made that stripping out irritating ads is no different than blocking pop ups, which web browsers have done for years, as a way to improve the experience for consumers.

But there are drawbacks to building an ad blocker into Chrome: most notably, the amount of power it gives Google. Ultimately, it means Google gets to decide what qualifies as an acceptable ad (though it’s basing this on standards set collectively by the Coalition for Better Ads). That’s a good thing if you trust Google to remain benign and act in everyone’s interests. But keep in mind that Google is, at its core, an ad company. Nearly 89 percent of its revenue comes from displaying ads.

The Chrome ad blocker doesn’t just help publishers, it also helps Google maintain its dominance. And it advantages Google’s own ad units, which, it’s safe to say, will not be in violation of the bad ad rules.

This leaves publishers with fewer options to monetize their sites. And given that Chrome represents more than half of all web browsing on desktop and mobile, publishers will be hard pressed not to comply.

Google will also include an option for visitors to pay websites that they’re blocking ads on, through a program it’s calling Funding Choices. Publishers will have to enable support for this feature individually. But Google already tested a similar feature for more than two years, and it never really caught on. So it’s hard to imagine publishers seeing what’s essentially a voluntary tipping model as a viable alternative to ads.

Ramaswamy says that the goal of Chrome’s ad blocker is to make online ads better. “We believe these changes will ensure all content creators, big and small, can continue to have a sustainable way to fund their work with online advertising,” he writes.

And what Ramaswamy says is probably true: Chrome’s ad blocker likely will clean up the web and result in a better browsing experience. It just does that by giving a single advertising juggernaut a whole lot of say over what’s good and bad.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/1/15726778/chrome-ad-blocker-early-2018-announced-google

Amazon will continue to invest heavily in India

Amazon.com     Inc.     will     continue      investing  heavily  in  India,  the  chief   of its local operations said, dispelling  concerns of slower spending by the  US  e-commerce  company  after  its   chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky  said that while the India investments  were  starting  to  show  results,  they   had   hit   margins,   contributing   to    lower-than-expected  results  in  the   third quarter. “Not   at   all,”   Amazon’s   India   chief    Amit  Agarwal  said  in  an  interview   on   Monday   when   asked   whether    Amazon       would       slow       down        investments     in     India.     Amazon,      which  initially  said  it  would  invest   $2  billion  in  India,  had  said  in  June   that it would invest an additional $3  billion in the country. That investment is on track, Agarwal  said,  adding  that  the  company  is   “excited  about  the  momentum  that   we see in India”. “India is very early in its e-commerce  trajectory. Amazon is very early in its  e-commerce  trajectory  in  India.  To   transform how India buys is going  to take a long time; it will take a lot  of investment and… for many years.  This is just the beginning.” Amazon is betting big on its Prime  service in India and expects the  loyalty programme to dominate  sales in the coming months. “Prime continued to be the top seller  in all of October, not just for wave  one (of the Great Indian Festival).  Prime membership continues to  be a top seller and it is going to be  so going forward every month. My  belief is that Prime membership will  be the top seller every month based  on the trends that we are seeing,”  said Agarwal. On Monday, Amazon also said that  it witnessed record numbers during  its month-long Diwali sale event,  the Great Indian Festival, with sales  jumping 2.7 times from last year. This year’s Diwali sale has proven  to be the biggest showdown in the  history of Indian e-commerce, with  Amazon India and rival Flipkart  going all out to woo shoppers. While Flipkart claimed to outsell  Amazon India during the first leg of  the sale season, Amazon claims it  came back strongly during the latter  half of the sale season, with bigger  discounts in key categories such as  smartphones and large appliances. “October this year for us was 2.7  times of last year’s October—which  is incredible because last year was  4 times the October before,” said  Agarwal, adding that this growth  came even as “conversations”  suggested growth in India’s  e-commerce business was going to  be flat. Agarwal said that October could be  an inflection point for e-commerce  in India. “We had categories from  phones to Amazon Fashion to  appliances growing three to 11  times; even newer categories such  as luxury and beauty grew 46 times;  grocery and everyday consumables,  7.1 times; furniture, 11.8 times; gold  jewellery, eight times—so a lot of  these categories are showing robust  growth.” Agarwal said that 70% of the  company’s new customers in  October came from tier-II and tier-III  cities, adding that it was confident  of carrying the momentum from its  Diwali sale well into November and  December. Mint couldn’t independently verify  the numbers, but, in general,  all e-commerce marketplaces  (including Snapdeal, Amazon and  Flipkart’s smaller rival) did well in  October, carrying forward their  momentum from their annual sales. “When I look at the gaps between  the waves, our growth rates in those  gaps continued to the same extent.  We’re growing at 150% year-over- year. At peacetime, the growth rate  is still what I’m telling you. And as  we exit out of wave three (the third  sale event in October), we don’t see  a slowdown,” Agarwal said. “The broader e-commerce story is  not just a Flipkart-Amazon battle. Of  course, both Flipkart and Amazon  are trying to get a fair share of the pie  in key categories such as electronics,  fashion and large appliances. And  despite drags on margins, nobody is  going to reduce investments in India.  What you will see, however, is that  they will focus on innovation. For  example, during the festive season,  smartphone sales shot up and a lot  of the sales jumped due to things  like product exchanges. Another  new innovation was something like  Amazon Prime. So, you’ll see a lot of  that going forward,” said Sreedhar  Prasad, partner-e-commerce at  KPMG

Amazon has a secret plan to replace FedEx and UPS called ‚Consume the City‘

Amazon has been quietlybeefing up its own shipping logistics network lately.

Amazon CEO Jeff BezosAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Although Amazon publicly says it’s meant to complement existing delivery partners like FedEx and UPS, a new report by The Wall Street Journal’s Greg Bensinger and Laura Stevens says Amazon has broader ambitions.

Eventually, Amazon aims to build a full-scale shipping and logistics network that will not only ship products ordered from Amazon, but also will ship products for other retailers and consumers.

In other words, Amazon is looking to compete against delivery services like FedEx and UPS, the report says. Internally, some Amazon execs call the plan „Consume the City.“

Here are other new details around Amazon’s logistics plan, according to the report:

  • Amazon recently hired former Uber VP Tim Collins as VP of global logistics.
  • It recruited dozens of UPS and FedEx executives and hundreds of UPS employees in recent years.
  • Test trials for last-mile deliveries are running in big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami.
  • The company also experimented with a program called „I Have Space“ to store Amazon’s inventory in warehouses owned by other companies.

On top of that, InternetRetailer.com recently reported that Amazon has hired Ed Feitzinger, the former CEO of UTi Worldwide, one of the largest supply chain management companies, as VP of global logistics. Add that to the fact that Amazon has now built facilities within 20 miles of 44% of the US population, and Amazon is starting to look like a real threat to existing logistics networks.

According to Baird Equity Research, Amazon is looking at a $400 billion market opportunity by launching all these initiatives. They could also help Amazon reduce some of its shipping costs, which have been increasing every year.

People in the industry are starting to take notice, too, according to Zvi Schreiber, the CEO of Freightos, an online marketplace for international freight.

„After dominating e-commerce and warehousing, Amazon is moving farther up the supply chain and eyeing the logistics sector from all angles, particularly looking to leverage technology, capital, and manpower to make logistics more efficient,“ Schreiber told Business Insider.

„Given their track record of disrupting industries — from retail to warehousing and e-commerce fulfillment to cloud computing — the trillion-dollar freight industry is certainly tracking Amazon nervously.“

http://www.businessinsider.de/amazon-secret-plan-replace-fedex-ups-called-consume-the-city-2016-9

Brexit isn’t the biggest economic problem our children will face

The exit of Great Britain from the EU has earned scare-mongering headlines worthy of a zombie attack. As we’ve written, Brexit is a step away from globalisation, and will hurt global economic growth. But the bigger threats to the global economy come from slow-burn challenges, like the ongoing slowdown in productivity.

But an even bigger challenge is this: There aren’t enough young people in the world. Right now we’re living through the biggest demographic change in history – which will hurt economic growth for generations.

For the first time in human history, we are arriving at “peak youth” – the number of people over the age of 30 outnumbers those who are under the age of 30. And the number of people who are 65 or older are likely going to outnumber children under 5 years of age by 2020.

Young Children and Older People as Percentage of Global PopulationTrueWealth Publishing

This global shift in age demographics will affect GDP growth in countries all over the world. That’s because the global workforce will shrink as a higher percentage of the population is past working age. Fewer workers is a major cause of lower productivity and slower GDP growth. And workers face a greater burden to support a rising aging population.

Longer lives + shrinking labour supply = trouble

Global life expectancy is expected to reach 77.1 years by 2050, compared with 48 years in 1950. That means over a period of 100 years, life expectancy will have climbed by 29 years, or 60 percent. The global population of those 60+ years is expected to grow to 2.1 billion, compared with 901 million today. Asia will account for two-thirds of the increase in old people. China will see the biggest increase in the world, with 21 percent of the world’s increase in 60+ year-olds.

That kind of extension in human longevity is an extraordinary achievement. It’s also an extraordinary burden.

One way to look at the impact this will have on global economies is through support ratios. A country’s support ratio is the ratio of its working age population (15-64 years) to its old-age population (65+ years). It reflects how many workers “support” – via an economy’s social support system – old people.

The global support ratio has steadily fallen, from 12:1 in 1950, to 8:1 in 2013. In developed economies it stood at 4:1 in 2013. Meanwhile, fewer new workers are entering the workforce. The support ratio in developed economies is expected to fall to 2:1 by 2050.

Some economies are hitting a critical point this year when for the first time since 1950, the number of people aged 15-64 will decline in absolute terms. The workforces in Japan, Italy, and Germany have already started to shrink. Japan may see its labour supply shrink by 1/3 by 2050. Since doubling in size over the 45 years ended last year, China’s labour supply likely began to shrink in 2015.

What happens to growth?

From 1964 to 2014, global GDP grew by about 500 percent. That growth was fueled by major increases in productivity and rapid growth in the workforce.

But global GDP growth will struggle as the labour pool starts to shrink, and as productivity growth declines.

Management consultants McKinsey & Company suggest that average global economic growth will fall to 2.1 percent over the next 50 years, compared to 3.5 percent in the previous 50 years. During that time, growth in productivity and labour contributed roughly equally to economic growth. But they forecast that labour growth will nearly vanish as a source of economic growth, as shown in the figure below. And given current trends, predicting that productivity growth will make up the difference is very optimistic.

Annual GDP Growth Due to Productivity and LabourTrueWealth Publishing

Is there anything good in this huge demographic shift? Although the labour force will be increasingly burdened by supporting a larger number of old people, it will also support fewer children. In addition, savings may build up leading to more possibilities for investment.

Also, slowing labour and productivity growth may force companies and governments to search for innovative new ways to drive economic growth. New policies and approaches – particularly focused on technological changes, robotics and artificial intelligence – may further improve the quality of life as the global economy finds its way.

But it’s hard to find a silver lining. And lower growth will become a new normal in coming years.

http://www.businessinsider.de/brexit-isnt-the-biggest-economic-problem-our-children-will-face-2016-7

China is close to having its own Silicon Valley

The headline data out of China hasn’t exactly been comforting of late. The country is grappling with the challenges of slowing GDP growth, rising debt levels, and volatile stock markets, to name just a few. But if the macroeconomic statistics seem bleak, the picture is brighter among the country’s entrepreneurial class. The quality of Chinese innovation is increasing, the funding environment is improving, particularly for early-stage companies, and the Chinese government is doing everything it can to make China Inc. a force to be reckoned with.

It should come as no surprise that a large portion of recent Chinese startups is aimed squarely at the country’s rapidly expanding middle class. The number of middle-class adults in China has grown by more than half since 2000, to a total of 109 million, more than the 105 million in all of North America, according to Credit Suisse’s 2015 Global Wealth Report. And their spending power has increased even more: Middle-class wealth jumped more than seven-fold during that time, from $1.7 billion to $7.3 billion. What Chinese people eat, drink, and wear, where they travel, and what they do for entertainment “will be the driving force of consumption in the next decade,” Michelle Leung, founder and CEO of Xingtai Capital Management, said at Credit Suisse’s 2016 Asian Investment Conference (AIC) in April.

Internet giants Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent were at the head of the first generation of Chinese startups to successfully target the country’s burgeoning middle class. All three continue to build their businesses by rolling out new e-commerce, social media, and mobile payment products and services to middle-class consumers. While their size and momentum make them formidable adversaries to any startup seeking to compete with them, their collective success has also made it easier for startups when it comes to one key variable: capital. Whereas the Internet pioneers had to go overseas to scrounge up funding, today’s Chinese entrepreneurs are awash in both foreign and domestic capital. That kind of change brings its own challenges, including rising concern about high valuations and liquidity risk, but those are high-class problems when compared to no capital whatsoever.

Signage for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. covers the front facade of the New York Stock Exchange November 11, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidThomson ReutersSignage for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. covers the front facade of the New York Stock Exchange

Early-stage funding has never been anywhere near as plentiful in China as it has been in the U.S. or Europe. A decade ago, it was positively scarce. Ramakrishna Velamuri, professor of entrepreneurship at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, says that when he first came to China in 2007, many so-called venture capital firms acted more like private equity firms, buying out companies instead of taking minority stakes. But that’s changing. While there is still more capital seeking to fund later-stage companies, a slew of domestic and foreign investors at the seed and angel stages has begun to emerge. “It’s been like a gold rush,” says Velamuri. “Lots of people who made money in real estate investments or in businesses have decided to become investors.”

Wu Yibing, head of the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek’s China business, says the fund believes strongly in Chinese innovation and has begun investing more aggressively in the country’s startups as a result. “Increasingly, to capture the China innovation theme, we are moving to earlier stages,” he says. By investing earlier on, he said, “you will be there with them when they become Didi Chuxing (a ride-sharing service) or Alibaba – and when that happens, they’ll be very expensive.”

The Chinese government has played an important role in the changes in the funding environment. Some 780 state-backed venture capital funds raised $231 billion in 2015, tripling the amount of assets under management in just a single year, to a total of $338 billion. While that money is also available for later-stage financings, such as a $4.5 billion fundraising round for Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial services spinoff, the funds are squarely aimed at shoring up seed-stage and angel investing in China. And there’s even help before the money comes: Since it began its campaign to support entrepreneurship in 2014, the government has also opened 1,600 high-tech incubators for startups.

The flood of investor interest in Chinese startups has pushed up valuations to a degree that has begun to concern some investors, however. At the Credit Suisse 2016 Asian Investment Conference (AIC) in April, Wu compared China’s frothiness to that of Silicon Valley. At the same time, he noted a concurrent consolidation trend that has helped justify at least some of those valuations. The 2015 merger of ride-sharing apps Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache into Didi Chuxing, for example, positioned the company to receive a $1 billion investment from Apple in May.

Didi taxi driverReuters/Jason Lee

If the funding environment has improved dramatically, the same cannot yet be said for its flipside: liquidity. Stock markets have been volatile over the last 12 months, and the Chinese government has repeatedly banned IPOs for extended periods. December 2013 marked the end of a 15-month freeze, while 2015 saw a five-month shutdown between July and early November. Zhang Yichen, Chairman and CEO of China-focused private equity fund CITIC Capital Holdings, said at the AIC that his company focuses on buyouts primarily to control the exit strategy. When firms the company invests in do go public, Zhang said, CITIC typically tries to sell enough stock to pre-IPO funds before the offering to make back their money – just in case. Velamuri also points out that liquidity has been helped by China’s hot M&A market. In 2015, the Internet conglomerates Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent invested $29 billion between them to acquire or take minority stakes in 134 firms.

For public-market equities investors seeking a piece of the startup action in China, the primary and secondary markets each present their own challenges. In the primary market, the number of promising startups is growing, but it’s still exceedingly difficult to pick winners and losers in a market as brutally competitive as China’s. And in the secondary market, it’s the usual story—too much money chasing too few success stories. Vincent Chan, Credit Suisse’s Head of China Research, notes that traditional industries such as banks and commodities companies still dominate Chinese public markets, while newer, high-growth sectors such as technology, communications, and media are tiny by comparison. “You end up with people paying a very high multiple for companies with a relatively small earnings base,” he says.

When the amount of capital available to fund promising startups shifts from not enough to more than enough, the challenges shift too. Today, liquidity and valuation risks are increasing for entrepreneurs and investors alike in China. But that’s also better than the alternative, which is no money available at all. For the time being, money is flowing, the Chinese government has committed to innovation as a national policy, M&A provides a viable exit route, and Chinese consumers are eager for the next, new thing. Whether this will prove another golden era for entrepreneurialism in China, only time will tell, but in the meantime, China’s startups are too busy figuring out new ways to cater to a fast-growing consumer base to worry about it. To find out more about China’s increasingly innovative startups, read our companion story here.

www.businessinsider.de/china-almost-has-its-own-silicon-valley-2016-6

Apple received a $1 billion investment from Warren Buffet

Apple_buffett
Warren Buffett’s firm invested more than $1 billion in Apple earlier this year. It’s down more than $200 million to date.
Image: John Peterson/Ap

They call him the „Oracle of Omaha“ because he just seems to know how to pick stocks that go up.

Still, Warren Buffett (and his deputies) aren’t perfect.

Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, dropped about $1.1 billion on Apple stock in the first quarter of 2016, snapping up 9.8 million shares in the company, according to a company filing on Monday.

It’s Buffett’s first major bite of Apple, and so far, it’s a bit sour.

Apple’s stock has struggled so far this year after reporting its first sales decline in more than a decade. Buffett’s original investment is now worth about $888 million, a decline of more than $200 million in a matter of months.

Companies like Berkshire Hathaway are required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to disclose their investments at the end of each quarter, meaning that four times a year the public gets a look at how some of the biggest investments are positioned.

Buffett’s investments, through Berkshire Hathaway, are some of the most closely watched. His career has become legendary among investors. Buffett began selling chewing gum as a six-year-old to one of the richest self-made people in history.

His net worth is now estimated to be around $66 billion, according to Forbes.

Buffett’s popularity means that when he buys certain stocks — or more precisely, when it’s revealed he has purchased certain stocks — they tend to go up partially just due to his influence.

That appeared to happen on Monday morning, as Apple shares rose 2.2% to start the week.

It is, however, important to note that reports indicate Buffett himself did not make the investment. It was made by one of his deputies, who also have control of billions of dollars in investment capital.

Even without Buffett’s personal touch, the move came as a bit of a surprise. Buffett is known for avoiding tech companies, since they tend to be rather expensive by some classic investing metrics.

That position seems to be changing slightly. Buffett has also been associated with a bid for Yahoo, although only in terms of financing for another party.

http://mashable.com/2016/05/16/warren-buffett-apple-1-billion