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Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s technology conglomerate Alibaba Group Holding is splitting into six groups, including an entertainment business, with each of them set to be “independently managed by its own chief executive officer and board of directors,” the company said on Tuesday.
Daniel Zhang will serve as CEO and chairman of the holding company, which reminded some observers of Google’s creation of Alphabet as the umbrella company for its various businesses.
Alibaba’s restructuring news came a day after the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation, that Ma had returned to mainland China after spending about a year abroad. His return comes at a time when Beijing is looking to boost business confidence after years of COVID-19 restrictions and regulatory crackdowns. In 2021, reports said that China’s government had asked Alibaba to sell off its collection of media assets.
Film studio Alibaba Pictures, video streamer Youku “and other businesses” will be part of the new entertainment business, dubbed Digital Media and Entertainment Group, the company said in a regulatory filing. It will be led by Fan Luyuan as CEO. He has previously served as CEO of Beijing-based Alibaba Pictures since 2017.
The new organizational and governance structure is designed “to empower all our businesses to become more agile, enhance decision making, enable faster responses to market changes and promote innovation to capture opportunities in their respective markets and industries, thereby unlocking the value of Alibaba Group’s various businesses,” the firm said. “Each business group will also have the flexibility to raise outside capital and potentially to seek its own IPO, with the exception of Taobao Tmall Business Group, which will remain wholly-owned by Alibaba Group.”
Taobao is Alibaba’s online shipping business. The four other new companies are the Cloud Intelligence Group (including cloud, AI, DingTalk and other businesses), Local Services Group (including Amap, Ele.me and others), Global Digital Business Group (including Lazada, AliExpress, Trendyol, Daraz, Alibaba.com and others), as well as Cainiao Smart Logistics.
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