@NeilB excellent points. I hope that others read your comments and think carefully. It is all about doing one’s research. I have had the pleasure of going to and working in China, on business, on several occasions and I certainly would never underestimate the capacity of China and Chinese people to achieve great things. It is an amazing place - things get torn down quickly and rebuilt when it is believed that is the right thing to do. Even the western brand hotel that I stayed at in Beijing was knocked down and rebuilt between the two of the visits that I made there.
I think it is fantastic that you took the time to read about China and some Chinese leaders. In particular taking Xiaoping into consideration. I have started reading this book:
but am afraid I have not had the time to complete it. New Year’s resolutions are around the corner so I guess one spot is now taken
The fact that the present leadership intends to make a great and everlasting positive change to millions more in China is a good thing. Whether BABA and similar companies fit with that goal is up in the air. There are other aspects of this: western Fashion brands that have been targeted for “disrespecting Chinese sovereignty” know only too well.
Like you, I am not taking a position on BABA one way or the other - I don’t understand enough and so this is an impossible call for me. Perhaps the simplest, but still risk soaked way of investing there, is via a fund of some description. People interested in China need to take a long view and be prepared to understand that everything can be torn down and built into something different in a flash.