Alibaba Group faces difficult future as chairman & co-founder steps down

 Alibaba Group faces difficult future as chairman & co-founder steps down

Beijing, Sep 10: The Alibaba Group faces a daunting challenge of negotiating an uncertain future as chairman and co-founder Jack Ma steps down from the Chinese firm on Tuesday.

His successor Daniel Zhang faces a difficult task as the e-commerce giant tries to negotiate a slowdown in the Chinese domestic market.

Ma, who turned 55 on Tuesday, founded the company two decades ago in a small shared apartment in Hangzhou city in eastern China.

From those himble origins, Ma took the company to dizzying heights as one of the biggest e-commerce firms in the world.

The announce of Ma's step down was made around a year ago. At that time, Ma had said that he plans an extremely gradual departure from the Alibaba Group.

“The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba,” Ma said during last year’s announcement.

The former English teacher had also reposed a lot of faith in his heir Zhang.

"He has the logic and critical thinking skills of a super computer, a commitment to his vision, the courage to wholeheartedly dare to take on innovative business models and industries of the future," Ma had said in a message last year while announcing Zhang's appointment.

One of the Alibaba's major challenges is finding new areas of growth as the e-commerce sector in China matures.

Last week, the company announced investments of $2.7 billion in luxury goods retail platform Kaola, apart from and a music streaming firm.

According to market analysts, these moves demonstrate that the company is flexible in adopting new strategies.

"If Alibaba wants to find new innovations or trends this is going to be more difficult than before," said Liu Yiming, an analyst at the research division of 36kr, a Chinese tech publishing group.

"For Daniel Zhang, this will be a big challenge."

News24 Bureau

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