Jack Ma is due to retire as the head of Alibaba in September. Can Chief Executive Daniel Zhang Yong deliver the same blockbuster results that the Chinese tech giant has enjoyed under the leadership of its charismatic founder?
The Nikkei Asian Review cover story this week featured Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and focuses on the leadership of its CEO, Daniel Zhang Yong, who succeeded the company’s legendary founder, Jack Ma Yun.
A colleague of the Editor-in-chief who met Zhang six months ago at Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou used a Japanese idiom to describe the CEO’s uncanny abilities. “Mr. Zhang was a rather quiet person,” my colleague said, “but he could tell how something smelled just by glancing at it.” In other words, Zhang was ferociously intelligent and could grasp the big picture based on just a sliver of information.
It appears that Ma saw something in Zhang that he himself lacked. Perhaps the founder gazed into the future and saw that Alibaba would face challenges that he had never encountered.
The biggest challenge for Alibaba obviously has to be the tariff war between China and the U.S. Some 88% of Alibaba’s revenue comes from e-commerce. A sluggish global economy and inflationary pressure caused by steep import tariffs could squeeze Chinese consumption — and eventually Alibaba’s businesses.
Famously, Zhang is the brains behind Singles Day. Held every year on Nov. 11, the shopping festival has grown to become the world’s biggest retail event. Zhang’s proven ingenuity will be tested by the gathering headwinds. READ MORE
- Alibaba 2017 Investor Day
- Tencent Chases Alibaba for Cloud Computing Supremacy (Nikkei Asian Review)
- Alibaba Reorg (Interconnected)
- China Definitively Reins In Jack Ma’s Ant Fintech Empire – Agreement Reached On “Restructuring” (ZeroHedge)
- Why Alibaba’s Jack Ma Can’t Seem to Win Over the U.S. (WSJ)
- Fund Managers: Why We Couldn’t Resist the Alibaba IPO (FE Trustnet)
- Asia300: Chinese Companies Face Surging Write-offs (Nikkei Asian Review)
- Alibaba and JD.com Battle for the Next Big Emerging Market: Inland China (Quartz)
- The Incredible Rise of Pinduoduo, China’s Newest Force in eCommerce (TechCrunch)
- China Internet Update (KraneShares)
- Alibaba’s Spinoffs: More Clarity, More Complexity (China Tech Shorts)
- Alibaba Squeezed by Crackdown as JD.com and Pinduoduo Pounce (Nikkei Asia)
- The Chinese Market Is More Than Just Its Urban Centers (Harvard Business Review)
- Short Seller Jim Chanos: Everyone Forgets Ali Baba Was a Thief!
- Why Tencent’s Golden Share Arrangements Could Be Worse for Investors Than Alibaba’s (China Tech Shorts)