American regulators are investigating China's e-commerce giant
“WE HAVE from time to time been subject to PRC and foreign government inquiries and investigations.” So declared form 20-F, a regulatory filing submitted by Alibaba, China's biggest e-commerce firm, to America's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on May 24th. It is tempting to dismiss this as boilerplate language. All foreign firms listed in America (Alibaba trades on the New York Stock Exchange) are required to file this document regularly. In fact, it is not inconsequential. The filing revealed that Alibaba is the target of an ongoing SEC investigation into its accounting practices. The company's shares fell sharply after the news became public.
The SEC appears to have three areas of concern. It wants to know more about the Cainiao Network, a logistics joint venture worth $7.7 billion in which Alibaba has a 47% stake. The agency also wants data on “Singles' Day”, an annual marketing promotion that last year apparently generated $14.3 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) on one day. As GMV is not a recognised term in GAAP, the accounting standard used in America, the SEC may be digging into this claim.
美国证券交易委员会要考虑的主要是三个方面。菜鸟网络科技公司便是其中之一，这个公司是市值77亿美元的合资的物流公司，阿里巴巴持有47%的股份。除此以外委员会还想了解“光棍节”（一年一度的营销推广日）的数据，去年这个节日仅一天的总交易额（GMV）达到了143亿美元。但GMV并不是美国使用的会计准则GAAP（Generally Accepted Accounting Principles）认可的条款，美国证监会（SEC）可能会对此深入调查。