Having felt like I was reading about a new investment every month from Alibaba, it got me thinking about how rapidly they are expanding their reach outside of China. While many have written about this recent frenzy, I had not seen anything comparing Alibaba’s investing activities in the US to that of Google and/or Amazon in China. As the digital platforms move towards true global competition, I got curious about the data.
Thanks to the folks at CB Insights, I looked at the data of investments made in the US by Alibaba and in China by Google and Amazon as far back as the data went.
By number of deals, Alibaba has a substantial lead, but by investment value (shown below), the difference becomes staggering.
The data is fairly stark. If you look at the individual deals, Alibaba is investing in all the areas you would expect — mobile, gaming, ecommerce — and even some you would not, expanding their sphere of knowledge and influence as they chart their inevitable global push. For Google and Amazon, is the difference deliberate and due to different strategic choices or is it because China remains a more difficult and protected environment to enter and invest? If it’s the latter, does that put the leading US platforms at a structural disadvantage competing in the global stage? We are entering a new era of the digital Game of Thrones and this will be interesting to watch play out.
Some notes on the data:
1) Investment dollars reflects total round size, as a reasonable proxy for invested dollars, as well as acquisitions. Some deals did not have any announced round size and are included at $0.
2) This is solely focused on investments and does not include capital associated with local operations in country.
Thanks to my colleague David Rogg for assistance pulling this post together.