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The mascot for Alibaba’s Taobao e-commerce platform is displayed near the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou. Photo: Bloomberg

Alibaba expands share buy-back to a record US$25 billion amid stock price slump

  • The share buy-back programme will run for two years through March 2024
  • Shan Weijian, executive chairman of PAG, replaces Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm as independent director on the company’s board

Alibaba Group Holding, the Hangzhou-based e-commerce giant, upsized its share buy-back programme from US$15 billion to US$25 billion on Tuesday amid a plunge in its stock price. It is the largest buy-back in the tech giant’s history.

The programme will run for two years through March 2024, the company said in a statement. Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post, had announced a US$10 billion share buy-back plan in December 2020 and expanded it to US$15 billion in August last year.

Alibaba said that as of March 18 it has spent about US$9.2 billion on its buy-back plans. However, until now they have not stopped its share price from falling. Before the buy-back plan was announced on Tuesday, the stock was trading at about one-third of its peak in October 2020.

Alibaba’s Hong Kong listed shares rose 11.2 percent to close at HK$110.20 (US$14).

China’s tech crackdown fans unemployment worries

“The upsized share buy-back underscores our confidence in Alibaba’s long-term, sustainable growth potential and value creation,” said Toby Xu, Alibaba’s deputy chief financial officer. “Alibaba’s stock price does not fairly reflect the company’s value given our robust financial health and expansion plans.”

The buy-back comes after Beijing showed a rare signal that it might ease its crackdown on Big Tech. The stock market rebounded last Wednesday after two days of steep declines, when Vice-Premier Liu He urged regulators to give a heads-up to financial authorities before any new policies were published.

Alibaba Group signage and logo appear on one of its office buildings. Photo: Shutterstock Images

Separately, Alibaba has appointed Shan Weijian, executive chairman of investment group PAG, as an independent director to the company’s board. He will replace Borje Ekholm, the CEO of Ericsson, who has been an independent director since 2015.


Shan, a veteran banker, led Newbridge Capital’s acquisition of an 18 per cent equity stake in the Shenzhen Development Bank in 2004 for 1.2 billion yuan. After the deal, Newbridge became the bank’s largest shareholder. It later sold its investment to Ping An Group in 2012, reaping a profit of 15 billion yuan.

Shan is a member of the International Advisory Council of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. He is also a published author, with his memoir Out of the Gobi: My Story of China, telling of his early years enduring hardship while pursuing his dreams and an education.