Change in leadership and a shift in strategy… What does Alibaba’s sudden decision hide?

Alibaba, in a surprising announcement, revealed that Eddie Wu will replace Daniel Zhang as the CEO of the group, allowing Zhang to concentrate on the company’s cloud projects. This decision follows Alibaba’s restructuring into six business groups earlier this year, aimed at revitalizing the company amidst China’s economic slowdown and stringent government regulations.

In an internal memo to Alibaba employees, Zhang emphasized the transformative role of core technologies such as cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence in society, highlighting their strategic importance.

Following the announcement, Alibaba’s shares experienced a slight recovery, trading down 1% on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Tuesday afternoon.

Moreover, the company announced Joe Tsai as the Chairman of the Group, who also serves as the Executive Vice Chairman. Tsai, the owner of the Brooklyn Nets, has been an Executive Vice Chairman at Alibaba.

Zhang will retain his position as Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Alibaba Group, with the change set to take effect on September 10th.

Alibaba also revealed plans to spin off its cloud computing unit, aiming to establish it as an independent publicly listed company within the next year.

Aside from cloud intelligence, Alibaba’s other business units encompass local services such as food delivery and mapping, logistics, global e-commerce platforms like AliExpress and Lazada, digital media, and entertainment.

While the food delivery and mapping arm will remain under Alibaba’s full ownership, the restructuring will enable each business group to enhance agility, secure external funding, and potentially go public.

Eddie Wu, a co-founder of Alibaba, will assume the role of CEO, succeeding Zhang. Currently, Wu serves as Chairman of the Food Delivery and Mapping arm, as well as the Logistics business.

Wu has held several key positions within the group, including overseeing technology management at Alibaba, serving as the Chief Technology Officer of Ant Group and the food delivery arm, and leading Alibaba Health Information Technology. Additionally, he founded Vision Plus Capital, an investment capital firm focusing on advanced technologies, enterprise services, and digital healthcare.

Daniel Zhang has served as the CEO of Alibaba since 2015 and assumed the position of Chairman of the Board in 2019, succeeding Jack Ma.

Zhang’s decision to focus exclusively on the cloud business underscores its significance for Alibaba’s future growth and success.

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