Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s chief executive on Tuesday urged his employees to "shift the focus from the stock market to customers" in a memo sent one day after the Chinese e-commerce giant's stock price slipped below its IPO price amid a global stock selloff.
The request came after the Chinese stock market sold off in a crash dubbed "China's Black Monday." Alibaba shares also plunged on the New York Stock Exchange as the stock, NYSE: BABA, fell to $58.95 per share, significantly below its $68 initital public offering and down over 13 percent.
"This is not the first time that the global stock market has plunged. It is not the last time, either," wrote CEO Daniel Zhang, according to Bloomberg.
But the issue extends far beyond two days of events on markets in China and the United States. Alibaba's stock price reached its peak in November, priced at about $120 per share, but has since been sliding downward. The company has seen $128 billion decline in market value since that time, Bloomberg reports.
Over the past two quarters, investors have been backing out of Alibaba. In August, Soros Fund Management LLC sold 4.39 million Alibaba shares. Yahoo announced plans to sell off its 15 percent stake but timed the exit for later in the year.
While shares of the so-called "fab five" in tech -- Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), Netflix (NFLX), Facebook (FB) and Amazon (AMZN) -- managed to bounce back from the tumble they experienced at market open, Alibaba did not fare so well. Alibaba's stock price closed at $65.86 but was up to $68.55 in after-hours trading, just above the IPO price but still at its lowest since its September 2014 NYSE debut.
“Let’s forget about the stock prices,” Zhang wrote, according to Bloomberg. “We should not be distracted by short-term obstacles, but plan for the future and stick to it."
Zhang, who took over the chief executive role from cofounder and chairman Jack Ma three months prior, may be telling his staff of 35,000 to forget about the U.S. market, but investors may not be ready to do so.