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Alibaba

The West has a simple narrative about Alibaba: In that telling, it’s a Chinese e-commerce giant that raised $25 billion in an IPO in New York last fall, and is a sort of eBay-Amazon-Paypal hydra. But in China, the company run by CEO Jack Ma is far more ambitious: Last year it began targeting and remaking some of the country’s most moneyed industries, from banking to entertainment. Its Internet finance arm, Yu’e Bao, looks to have the earliest impact: It offers Alipay customers higher returns than state-run banks that pay paltry interest rates, and, starved for investment options, the masses responded in droves by putting in $82 billion in the first year.