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Friday, September 19, 2014

WHO OR WHAT ARE ALIBABA AND ARASHI??

Ali Baba of the forty thieves and One Thousand and One Nights was an Arabian tale of the 1700's.  Remember his pre-entrance:  Open Sesame?  Well Alibaba is a publicly traded Hangzhou (China) e-commerce company that today had an IPO opening of $68, but immediately almost hit $100/share, and ended the day at $94 with the greatest opening in the history of the world stock exchange.  A value combining e-Bay and Amazon.com will probably be the result.  While Yahoo owns a 24% stake in Ali Baba, YHOO today dropped 2.7%.  The Dow Jones broke the all-time high for the third straight day, up 14 to 17,280.

Alibaba was founded by Jack Ma (left) in 1999 as a means of selling Chinese products worldwide.  Who is Jack Ma?  Well, his height is just about exactly 5 feet.  Picture a diminutive oriental Gabby Hayes without facial hair.  Ma just turned 50 and is now the richest man in China, with a net worth of more than $20 billion.  He owns 193 million shares of BABA (the stock symbol), or a 7.8% stake in the company.

Keep in mind, though, that this is a company from China, and the government has everything to do with influencing the operation.  There are 27 board members, and guess who dominates?  Anyone who buys shares in the corporation has no vote.  The Board determines everything.

ARASHI is a Japanese boy band formed in Honolulu aboard a cruise ship 15 years ago, so, I guess, they're now men.  They were five "trainees," sort of like the Monkees, and lucked out when their Arashi. the Japanese word for storm, became the theme song for the Volleyball World Cup hosted by Japan in 1999.  In 2010, they did the same for the Winter Olympics held in Nagano.  After the Great Tohoku Earthquake in 2011 they donated their three-day concert at the Tokyo Dome before 225,000 to the cause.  Here is a half and hour  history of the group.

Well, Arashi is back.  In 2001 they had scheduled a show in Honolulu for November, but that 9/11 terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City cancelled the performance.  Instead, they will be celebrating their 15th anniversary with two live concerts for an audience of 30,000 at Ko Olina.  Almost everyone in the audience will be from Japan, and their presence in Hawaii, even with a 109:1 yen:dollar ratio, has the tourist industry thinking Golden Week.  All hotels in Hawaii are taken.

Here is Arashi's Love So Sweet.  Arashi on tour.


Their first concert was this afternoon in the general region of the Kapolei Golf Course, where I spent a few hours at the Champions Golf Tournament, where Davis Love made his debut.  I walked to the first hole and saw Love pull his first ever drive on this tour into the pond.  However, he made it up on the second hole with a birdie.  However, he fell 9 strokes behind leader Tom Pernice, who finished the day with a spectacular 60.  Here are Love, Jay Haas and Jeff Sluman on the first hole:


It was an absolutely beautiful day, but the temperature was almost up to 90 F.  However, sitting in the shade with a gentle breeze, it was, if anything, a bit too cool.  There must be something to the wind chill factor.  Had a hot dog with a beer, finishing up with a cognac infused cigar.  Great day in Paradise.

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