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Jack Ma to step down as Alibaba chairman; here’s how he will follow Bill Gates’ footsteps
Posted on 9th September 2019
Jack Ma steps down next week as chairman of Alibaba, but the start-up he built into and online retail behemoth is expected to keep thriving into a new era thanks to a culture of innovation he helped nurture. A former English teacher whose often playful image shattered the stereotype of the drab Chinese executive, Ma officially leaves on Tuesday, his 55th birthday. Ma plans to put his vast fortune – among China’s biggest at USD 41 billion – into initiatives serving his first love, education, following the footsteps of a fellow tech innovator he admires: Bill Gates.

The departure of charismatic founders from big tech companies typically causes hand-wringing and wobbling share prices, but not at Alibaba.

The company’s operational reins have for a couple of years now been in the hands of a respected team of executives who have kept it on e-commerce’s cutting-edge. Ma was Alibaba’s driving force and a frequently irreverent ambassador for the company, known for stunts like a Michael Jackson-inspired dance at an Alibaba anniversary celebration two years ago and starring in his own kung fu short film.

He is expected to retain some advisory functions. But the transition to figures like CEO Daniel Zhang, and co-founder and executive vice chairman Joseph Tsai — announced exactly a year ago — may prove to be the “gold standard” for tech-company succession, said Jeffrey Towson, an equity investor and professor at Peking University.

“He’s succeeded at what Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and (Yahoo co-founder) Jerry Yang failed at, which is making themselves redundant,” said Towson, who has authored books on China’s leading companies. “He built a really robust culture at Alibaba and they are still just innovating like crazy.” Ma was a cash-strapped Chinese entrepreneur when he convinced friends to give him USD 60,000 to start Alibaba in the eastern city of Hangzhou in 1999.

With monthly active users of more than 750 million today, Alibaba helped to unlock China’s massive consumer power, coincidentally a key objective of the government today as its seeks to fuel domestic demand to lessen the reliance on fickle foreign trade.

Its Taobao and Tmall platforms have helped countless businesses grow. “(Ma) has been the driving force for the development of China’s internet industry and economy. He is (China’s) entrepreneurial godfather,” said furniture maker Cheng Huaibao. Cheng, 30, is one of millions of small businessmen, often located in so-called “Taobao villages” — communities whose economies are oriented towards Alibaba’s vast market — who leapt into commerce thanks to the company. Cheng started making bunk beds in 2010 in eastern Jiangsu province with 10 staff. Today his thriving operation has 100 employees. “Without Teacher Ma, I wouldn’t have come out and started my own business,” Cheng said, using a common Chinese term of respect.

Alibaba and its imitators are accused of fostering rampant commercialism and materialism and the selling of counterfeit goods. Chinese e-commerce today also produces mountains of packaging material, contributing to a rising national garbage problem. And some of Ma’s comments have drawn barbs, including recently dismissing concerns that Chinese workers were toiling excessive hours, as did the news last year that he was a Chinese Communist Party member.

But Alibaba has continued to expand its ecosystem, pushing into cloud computing, entertainment, and a “new retail” concept — combining online ordering with bricks-and-mortar stores — while its Alipay finance unit has pioneered cashless digital payments. Despite slowing Chinese economic growth and the US trade war, earnings have so far remained strong. Ma, who has established an eponymous charitable organisation, already has launched a range of education initiatives.

Last month he sketched out his mantra going forward during a technology debate in Shanghai with Elon Musk, good-naturedly chiding the US entrepreneur about his obsession with putting a man on Mars. “We need a hero like you, but we need more heroes like us improving things on Earth,” Ma said.


Other Latest News
Bajaj Auto net profit surges to ₹1,402 crore, shares rise
Posted on 23rd October 2019
Bajaj Auto today reported better-than-expected earnings for the quarter ended September 30, pushing its shares 2% higher in afternoon trade. Bajaj Auto shares were up 2% at ₹3,186 as compared to a 0.44% rise in Sensex. The automaker's profit rose 22% to ₹1,402 crore, aided by a tax expense reversal of ₹182 crore due to the recent lowering of corporate tax rate.

Amazon’s new move to boost customer connect: Publishes success of small business sellers on boxes
Posted on 23rd October 2019
In a first-of-its-kind move by an e-commerce company, Amazon optimising its delivery boxes to increase customer engagement has announced Storyboxes — a packaging initiative where Amazon shares the growth journey of its sellers on the boxes. The company started the initiative during its annual Great Indian Festival sale (September 29 – October 4) to print the stories of its six sellers as of now. The company is looking to increase the number of such sellers’ stories ahead.

American firm readies class action suit against Infosys on whistleblower allegations
Posted on 23rd October 2019
Even as Infosys battles whistleblower allegations of using aggressive accounting methods to boost its revenues and margin, a US-based law firm, Rosen Law Firm, which specialises in securities class actions, said it was preparing such a suit to recover losses suffered by the investors. “Rosen Law Firm is preparing a class action lawsuit to recover losses suffered by Infosys investors,” it said in a statement.

DoT seeks relief for BSNL, MTNL once again, but with fewer demands
Posted on 23rd October 2019
Department of Telecommunications has again sought relief for the beleaguered Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd with fewer demands, essentially translating into lesser cash outgo by the Centre.

It is learnt that DoT has sought funds for the voluntary retirement schemes of the two sick units and allotment of 4G spectrum, besides proposing to raise finances by monetising assets.


SBI Life Insurance joins Rs 1-trillion m- cap club, stock hits record high
Posted on 23rd October 2019
SBI Life Insurance Company today entered the coveted Rs 1 trillion market capitalisation (market-cap) club after its share price hit a fresh all-time high on the National Stock Exchange (NSE). The stock of the life insurance company hit a new high of Rs 1,012 on Wednesday in the intra-day deal.

Following the uptick in the counter, SBI Life’s market cap crossed Rs 1-trillion mark or Rs 1,01,200 crore in intra-day trade today.


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