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Founder of Ecommerce Giant Alibaba Visits Israel To Receive Honorary Doctorate

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The founder of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and receive an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University, Globes Israel reported.

In what was considered a low profile visit, the Chinese tech giant founder Jack Ma and 30 members of his team met with Prime Minister Netanyahu. As of press very little information about the meeting was revealed.

Ma also was reported to meet Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen on Wednesday. Both meetings will be closed to the media and government ministers are not prepared to disclose details about what will be discussed.

The Chinese powerhouse also reportedly visited Alibaba’s recently opened Israel development center, which is based around its acquisition of Israeli QR code startup Visualead. In, November 2017. Globes reported that Alibaba had acquired Visualead for several tens of millions of dollars as part of its global plan to set up development centers around the world.

On Thursday Ma Ma will also receive an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University on Thursday evening. Earlier on the same day, and he will meet students and Tel Aviv University graduates in a question and answer session. Tel Aviv University said that Ma will meet the university’s management and leading researchers in such areas as artificial intelligence, computer sciences and engineering.

Alibbaba was founded in December 19 1999 when Ma and 17 other founders released their first online marketplace, named “Alibaba Online”. From 1999 to 2000, Alibaba Group raised a total of US$25 Million from Softbank, Goldman Sachs, Fidelity and some other institutions

Alibbaba rivals Amazon in the ecommerce world. They provide provides consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer and business-to-business sales services via web portals, as well as electronic payment services, shopping search engines and cloud computing services. It owns and operates a diverse array of businesses around the world in numerous sectors, and is named as one of the world’s most admired companies by Fortune.

On 18 September 2014, Alibaba’s IPO priced at US$68, raising US$21.8 billion for the company and investors. Alibaba was the biggest US IPO in history, Wall Street Journal reported. On 19 September 2014, Alibaba’s shares (BABA) began trading on the NYSE at an opening price of $92.70.

This will be Ma’s first visit to Israel although he has previously met with Netanyahu in March 2017 when the Israeli prime minister visited China and tried to persuade him to invest in Israel. The two men also met in Davos in 2016, Globes Israel reported.

By Austin Myers

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