Economy

Read Alibaba chairman Jack Ma's letter to employees and customers

Read Alibaba chairman Jack Ma's letter to employees and customers

As per the latest development, CEO Daniel Zhang will succeed Jack Ma as Chairman of the board, starting September 10, 2019, on the 55th birthday of Jack.

Mr Ma, one of China's richest men, will hand over the reins to Daniel Zhang, now Alibaba's chief executive.

Born to a poor family in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Mr Ma began his career as an English teacher before becoming a self-made dotcom billionaire.

But it is still extremely rare for a founder of big and transformative tech firm, especially one with a cult-like status like Ma, to retire so early. The Hurun Run report, which follows China's wealthy, estimates his net worth at $37 billion.

Alibaba said Ma will remain a member of the Alibaba Partnership, a group of 36 people with the right to nominate a majority of its board of directors.

Alibaba's future will need to depend on "droves of talent" and the transition of chairmanship demonstrates that the company has stepped up from one that relies on individuals to one built on a culture of talent development, Ma noted.

FILE PHOTO: Alibaba Group co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong, China, June 25, 2018.

E-commerce sales in China rose 32.2 percent a year ago to 7.2 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion), accounting for 20 percent of total retail spending.

Stewardship of Asia's most valuable company is passing to a financial wizard who has led the company's effort to drag the traditional retail industry into the 21st century.

Zhang, 46, has been in the job since 2015 after serving as the company's chief operating officer.

Mr Zhang, who joined Alibaba in 2007, sees Alibaba as an integrated ecosystem that lures consumers with movies, live-streamed sports, fast food deliveries and news.

Ma is moving on with Alibaba in a dominant position in China and pushing into overseas markets from Southeast Asia to Russian Federation.

The U.S. Commerce Department cited Alibaba.com and Taobao on its annual list of "notorious markets" from 2008 to 2011. According to Alibaba insiders, Zhang is a workaholic who touches every aspect of what happens at Alibaba.

He owns almost 9% of Alibaba, which is now worth $420bn.

The opportunities are enormous for the current $35 billion Indian e-commerce sector which would be worth over $100 billion by 2022 - with a growth of around 25 per cent from the current level - a joint PwC-Nasscom report said on Friday.

A global trade war is also hampering Alibaba's ambitions for worldwide expansion, including into the United States. Along the way, he hived off a payments service in controversial fashion, creating the $150 billion online finance giant Ant Financial.

He is one of the most colourful of China's growing cop of billionaires, performing a Michael Jackson-inspired dance routine at the company's 18th anniversary celebration previous year, and starring in his own kung fu short film. It said the total value of goods sold across all of its platforms rose 28 percent over 2016 to 4.8 trillion yuan ($768 billion).

The company needs "younger and more talented" people to take over its leadership roles so they can inherit Alibaba's mission to make it easy to do business anywhere, Ma noted. The dispute was later resolved by Alibaba, Yahoo and Softbank.


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