China’s relationship between government and major corporations has always been opaque, partly because so many senior persons within the army and public sector have taken positions within organisations presented as private companies. All of whom maintain close links to the politburo in Beijing and the communist party. Indeed, this ‘closeness’ led to the American policy of decoupling from the Chinese economy.
The notion of two of the most powerful pan-regional online businesses merging sounded unlikely. But in 2034 agreement was reached for Alibaba and Amazon to merge. Other than market tussles in the developing world there was little direct competition, therefore such a merger would not alter each of their respective domination over their home markets.
Unsurprisingly, the merger was referred to both the US and Chinese government. In due course the US approved the merger subject to certain conditions, particularly relating to data protection and financial services although the latter point carried less emphasis following the spin-off of Ant2 Financial (China) and agreement to ring fence US consumer information.*
In spite of the US giving regulatory approval, it was still widely expected that the Chinese would not meet the merger demands. When approval was finally given by the Chinese, the Dow Jones and the SSE rallied to unseen heights. The approval was put down to the continued effort by China to re- establish better trading relations with the US with a gesture that would in a stroke open its internal market to international business without directly affecting employment or the levels of control that Beijing sought over its population.
In 2035 the merger was completed on a 50:50 basis, with both companies retaining separate operational boards and equally sharing the executive board. Alizon, as it was christened, made a third listing, after New York and Shanghai (previously Hong Kong), on the London stock market, becoming the first formal tri-listed company in the world.
Despite the onerous obligations of maintaining three listings across the most important stock exchanges in the world, Alizon were able to increase their capital base by £26Bn and value the company at comfortably more than £2trillion (British pound sterling). This ensured the war chest from the company’s next goal – space.
*This point led to a court case brought by the EUROPEAN DATA PROTECTION SUPERVISOR against the unlawful collection and use of EU citizen data, having found their previous strengthened laws to be undermined by the proposed new data practices. The EU won the case.