Taiwan-born businessman to take control over NBA team Brooklyn Nets

Joseph Tsai still serves as executive vice chairman at Alibaba

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Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai (screenshot from Goldman Sachs website).

Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai (screenshot from Goldman Sachs website).

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Joseph Tsai (蔡崇信) is about to become the first Taiwanese to own a team in the United States' National Basketball Association (NBA) with his purchase of the Brooklyn Nets, according to a New York Post report on Tuesday (August 13).

The co-founder of Chinese web giant Alibaba already owns 49 percent of the team but is now preparing to buy the remaining 51 percent from Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov, with US$2.35 billion (NT$73.7 billion) as the price tag for the whole package.

Just two years ago, the Nets were among the worst teams in the NBA, but they have since added Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to their ranks in a move likely to boost attendance and eventual profits for Tsai, according to the New York Post.

The Taiwanese-born owner is reportedly also looking to buy at least one sports arena, which would help garner approval for his bid to take over the Nets.

In addition, Tsai still serves as executive vice chairman of Alibaba and “is known to speak positively of the Chinese government,” the newspaper wrote. He is also a member of NBA China, which wants to expand its presence in the country.

Forbes reportedly puts his wealth at US$9.9 billion (NT$310.8 billion).