Alibaba CEO Eddie Wu to lead Taobao and Tmall e-commerce business

Trader works at the post where Alibaba is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 28, 2023. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters

BEIJING — Alibaba Group CEO Eddie Wu is taking over the top role at the company’s Taobao and Tmall e-commerce business, replacing Trudy Dai in the Chinese internet tech giant’s latest management shakeup this year.

Dai, who is one of the 18 cofounders of Alibaba, will assist in establishing an asset management company, according to an internal letter from Alibaba Chairman Joe Tsai seen by CNBC.

Alibaba’s announcement Wednesday comes after Wu replaced Daniel Zhang as the group’s CEO in September.

Wu has been chairman of Taobao and Tmall Group since May 2023.

The e-commerce business that once propelled Alibaba to success has run into challenges with rising competitors such as PDD, while consumption growth in China remains sluggish.

PDD’s U.S.-listed shares have gained more than 80% so far this year, driving the company’s market capitalization higher than Alibaba’s. In contrast, the company founded by Jack Ma has seen its shares fall by about 14% year to date.

Contributing to a recent decline in Alibaba shares was news last month that the company had scrapped plans to list its cloud business due to U.S. restrictions on exports of advanced chips to China.

Alibaba in March had announced a massive restructuring into six units, paving the way for individual stock listings, especially for its cloud business.

Wu became acting chairman and CEO of Alibaba’s Cloud Intelligence Group in September after Zhang abruptly left the business unit.

“Eddie’s leadership of both Alibaba Cloud and [Taobao and Tmall Group] will ensure total focus on, and significant and sustained investment in, our two core businesses of cloud computing and e-commerce, as well as enabling TTG to transform through technology innovation,” Tsai’s letter said.

“Soon, we will empower a new cohort of management leaders who have developed fundamental skillsets and experience from the bottom up.”

Dai “accomplished” the company’s mission regarding Taobao and Tmall, and her new role in the asset management company would allow her to “play to her strengths,” the letter said.

During Alibaba’s latest earnings call in mid-November, the company said it planned to monetize its non-core assets and noted it had $67 billion on its balance sheet in equity securities and other investments.

Tsai’s letter did not provide details on those non-core assets.

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