Jack Ma officially retires as Alibaba’s chairman – gpgmail


Jack Ma stepped down as Alibaba’s chairman today, handing the role over to the company’s current CEO Daniel Zhang. The transition was announced a year ago.

Ma will continue serving on Alibaba’s board until its annual general shareholders’ meeting next year. He also remains a lifetime partner of Alibaba Partnership, a group drawn from the senior management ranks of Alibaba Group companies and affiliates that has the right to nominate (and in some situations, appoint) up to simple majority of its board.

Ma said in last year’s announcement that he plans for his departure from Alibaba Group to be very gradual: “The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba.”

Ma left Alibaba’s CEO position in 2013 and was succeeded first by Jonathan Lu. In 2015 Lu was replaced by Zhang, the company’s former COO. As its CEO and now its chairman, Zhang has taken Alibaba’s reins as it copes with a slowdown in China’s e-commerce market after a decade of explosive growth. The online retail landscape also now includes new players like Pinduoduo, which have gained an advantage by focusing on smaller cities, important growth markets for Internet companies.

One interesting fact about the day Ma chose for his retirement as chairman is that it is Teachers’ Day in China. Ma is a former English teacher who is still nicknamed “Teacher Ma” and has said that he plans to devote time to education philanthropy.


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Alibaba’s UCWeb to launch an e-commerce service in India – gpgmail


UCWeb, a subsidiary of Chinese giant Alibaba, plans to launch an e-commerce service in India in the coming months.

In a statement to gpgmail, a UCWeb spokesperson said the firm plans to build an e-commerce service around content platform in India. The spokesperson added that UCWeb has no intention to compete with existing e-commerce businesses in the country, and that Alibaba Group was not overseeing the development of the service.

UCWeb, which is known for its popular mobile browser UC Browser, would leverage its “extensive user communities in India,” to build the e-commerce business, the spokesperson said. “The new service is in line with our strategy to enrich the experience for users and clients alike.”

UC Browser, used by more than 430 million users worldwide, counts India as one of its key markets where it has over 130 million users. According to third-party analytics firm StatCounter, UC Browser commanded over 23% of the mobile browser market share in India, lagging only behind Google Chrome, whose market share has ballooned in recent years to 63%.

UC Browser, has however, remained in the top 15 apps in India based on number of downloads downloads through Google Play Store in last three months, according to app research firm SensorTower. 

In recent years, UCWeb has been working to bulk up UC Browser to expand its offering beyond mobile browsing. Today it works with over 120,000 bloggers and over 700 media outlets to produce content that it then serves to UC Browser users.

UCWeb has launched a number of apps in recent years that are aimed at users who are trying to download videos from the web. Vmate, a UCWeb-owned app that offers similar functionalities, recently secured $100 million commitment from parent firm Alibaba.

On the sidelines of a company event on Thursday, Huaiyuan Yang, Vice President of UCWeb Global Business, told news agency PTI that the firm would partner with existing players for its upcoming e-commerce service. Alibaba owns about 30% of payments firm Paytm.

“We have Alibaba’s e-commerce gene in us. We are actually trying to start innovative business model related to e-commerce,” he told PTI.


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