(Bloomberg) — The former head of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Daniel Zhang, has decided to step down just months after agreeing to lead its cloud division, introducing further uncertainty as China’s largest e-commerce company undergoes a complex break-up.
Most read from Bloomberg
Zhang has decided to step down as head of Alibaba’s cloud division, the company said in an internal memo seen by Bloomberg News on Sunday. He assumed that position after the executive handed over the dual responsibilities of CEO and chairman to Eddie Wu and Joseph Chee. Alibaba founder Jack Ma, both close associates of Wu and Tsai, officially took their positions on Sunday.
Zhang’s departure ends a long tenure during which Alibaba has become China’s largest company and branched out into new areas such as physical retail, one of the company’s fastest-growing businesses. An Alibaba representative confirmed Zhang’s departure. The former CEO now heads a $1 billion technology investment fund under Alibaba’s name.
Tsai and Wu take over from Zhang as the Hangzhou-based company undertakes a complex restructuring that will turn China’s Internet leader into several independent companies, from cloud services to logistics and online shopping. In the year The pair will be responsible for turning around the $230 billion corporation in 2021 after Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on the internet sector.
Both men are proven business heavyweights who have led the technology and strategy of China’s most valuable corporation, co-founded by Ma in 1999 at the dawn of China’s Internet industry. But in the year Around 2020, Alibaba found itself at the heart of Xi Jinping’s technology campaign against the country’s most powerful private companies, which has destroyed growth in the industry and fueled once-aggressive expansion plans.
In addition to regulatory uncertainty, Alibaba, a proxy for Chinese consumption, has struggled with geopolitics and a weakening domestic economy. It is facing stiff competition from other e-commerce platforms such as PDD Holdings Inc. as well as short videos.
The new leadership’s task is to figure out how to pursue significant changes aimed at expanding Alibaba’s unique business operations. In the restructuring, Alibaba said it wants to operate as a true investment company.
Yale alumnus Ty, who is popular with investors, could play a major role in catering to the markets and popular Alibaba backers. A former lacrosse athlete best known in America as the owner of the Brooklyn Nets, Tai knows the business intimately: he was next to him when he started Alibaba in a lakeside apartment in Hangzhou.
Little known is Wu, who has been synonymous with Ma since the beginning. The former computer science major is credited with helping develop the company’s advertising platform and PayPal-like Alipay, which is now part of the Ma-backed Ant Group. billion) portfolio that includes autonomous driving and software. With Zhang’s departure, Wu will serve as acting chairman and CEO of the cloud business.
Most read from Bloomberg Business Week
©2023 Bloomberg LP