Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Jack Ma Will Turn Alibaba Over To Successor Zhang In 2019

Jack Ma Will Turn Alibaba Over To Successor Zhang In 2019

I never thought that this thing would change my life.

Ma, known in Chinese as Ma Yun, has become one of China's best-known public figures. "He's the big one, he's the one that brings them together".

Mr. Zhang and other experienced managers, including Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai, have been taking care of Alibaba's day-to-day operations since Mr. Ma stepped down as CEO in 2013.

Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang attends the Alibaba Group's 11.11 Singles' Day global shopping festival in Shanghai on Nov 11, 2017.

Alibaba said the move was required to comply with Chinese regulations, but some financial analysts said the company was paid too little for a valuable asset.

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"A sustainable Alibaba would have to be built on sound governance, culture-centric philosophy, and consistency in developing talent".

Zhang and his team, although working under the radar, "are ready" to take over, Ma said in a letter to staff and shareholders.

Founded in 1999 by Chinese teacher-turned-entrepreneur Jack Ma, as a platform to connect Chinese manufacturers with the world, Alibaba stands among one of the largest companies in the world.

Alibaba now has more than 66,000 full-time employees and a market value of about $420bn. I am delighted to announce the plan today thanks to the support of the Alibaba Partnership and our board of directors.

He is also known for his eccentric personality and has donned wigs and costumes to perform highly choreographed pop routines at company events.

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Last year, he made his acting debut with his first kung fu short film Gong Shou Dao, in which he sparred with martial arts master Jet Li.

It reported revenues of $39.9bn for the fiscal year ended March 2018.

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. I plan on continuing my role as the founding partner in the Alibaba Partnership and contribute to the work of the partnership. Recently, Ma has been taking full advantage of his fame, belting out "Unchained Melody" at a Chinese music festival, doing his best Michael Jackson impression at Alibaba's birthday bash past year, and even starring in his own kung-fu flick alongside the likes of Jet Li and Donnie Yen. Three years later, the foundation for education pledged to donate $30m to a 10-year initiative to support teaching in rural China. He has also established a scholarship program in Newcastle, Australia.

Ma wrote: "Teachers always want their students to exceed them, so the responsible thing to do for me and the company to do is to let younger, more talented people take over in leadership roles so that they inherit our mission 'to make it easy to do business anywhere.' Carrying out this mission in order to help small businesses, young people and women around the world is my passion".

The company, which is battling arch rival Tencent Holdings Ltd for pole position in the food delivery market, recently said it will merge units including Ele.me and Koubei and raise funds for the combined business.

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A global trade war is also hampering Alibaba's ambitions for worldwide expansion, including into the United States.

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