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Alibaba’s market cap rises by $32bn on break-up announcement

In today’s top stories, Alibaba has surprised investors with plans to carve its empire into six separate businesses, a move which will reanimate speculation about an Ant Group IPO. Elsewhere, Apple has at last launched Apple Pay Later, taking a chunk out of the Affirm share price. Beleaguered Binance has haemorrhaged billions in outflows, while big tech firms have apparently disavowed any interest in the ethical dimension of AI, slashing roles related to embedding ethics into the technology. Lastly, Microsoft is facing an anti-trust probe in Germany.

Alibaba announces break-up

Shares in China's ecommerce titan Alibaba [BABA] closed up 14.3% on Tuesday, adding $32bn to its market cap, after it surprised investors with plans to split its empire into six separate businesses. “For Beijing, it addresses the concern over the abuse of monopolistic power by internet behemoths,” Evercore ISI analysts Neo Wang and Gin Wang wrote in a note seen by Bloomberg. The split will renew talk of an IPO for its fintech Ant Group [6688.HK].

Apple enters BNPL

After much anticipation, Apple [AAPL] finally launched its buy now, pay later service, Apple Pay Later, on Tuesday. Though Apple’s share price didn’t move much, the Affirm [AFRM] share price slipped 7.3%, as investors fear the fintech may lose market share to the iPhone maker. “It’s an aggressive and smart move by Apple to double down its efforts on this category,” Dan Ives, managing director at Wedbush Securities, told Fast Company.

Binance sees billions in outflows 

With problems mounting at Binance, traders are pulling their investments. In the seven days through Tuesday morning, the crypto exchange had $2.1bn in net outflows of ethereum and related assets, and $627m in the 24 hours through Tuesday morning, according to analysis by crypto data provider Nansen, as seen by blockchain publication Forkast News. In other crypto news, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been charged with bribing Chinese officials to the tune of $40m.

Big tech cut responsible AI roles

Big tech’s Alphabet [GOOGL], Meta [META] and Microsoft [MSFT] may be pushing new AI products, but they are slashing roles related to embedding ethics into the technology. “It is problematic when responsible AI practices are deprioritised,” Andrew Strait, associate director at the Ada Lovelace Institute, told the Financial Times. Elon Musk has signed a letter alongside more than 1,000 researchers and executives urging a six-month pause of advanced AI development, lest a “dangerous” arms race continue.

Microsoft faces anti-trust probe

Germany’s anti-trust regulator has got its eye on Microsoft amid concerns about its dominant position in the tech market. Bundeskartellamt president Andreas Mundt has noted increased reliance on the cloud service Azure as well as the “resounding success” of Teams. The news comes as the company announced ChatGPT capabilities for its cybersecurity offering. Elsewhere, Google and Amazon [AMZN] have been told to allow UK radio shows to be streamed on their smart speakers.

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