New Alibaba Group CEO lays out strategic priorities for staff -letter

By Casey Hall

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – New Alibaba Group CEO Eddie Wu has told staff the tech giant’s two main strategic focuses going forward will be “user first” and “AI-driven”, according to an internal letter reviewed by Reuters.

Wu, who sent the letter on Tuesday, his third day in the top job, also said Alibaba would focus on promoting young employees, specifically citing those born after 1985, to form the core of its business management teams within the next four years as part of a drive to maintain a “start-up mindset” and “not get stuck in our old ways”.

The new CEO, one of Alibaba Group’s founders and long-time lieutenant of Jack Ma, is laying out his strategic priorities at a key moment for Alibaba, which is undergoing the biggest organisational restructure of its 24-year history.

Late on Sunday Alibaba also announced that Wu would concurrently serve as CEO of its cloud computing unit, replacing Daniel Zhang.

The news came as a surprise to many, as Zhang had said in June he was stepping away as CEO of Alibaba Group to focus on the cloud division, which is aiming to have an IPO by May 2024.

The Cloud Intelligence Group, valued at $41 billion to $60 billion this year, is among five units Alibaba is spinning off as part of its restructuring.

The cloud unit is Alibaba’s second-biggest revenue source after domestic e-commerce and houses the group’s generative artificial intelligence model, Tongyi Qianwen.

“Over the next decade, the most significant change agent will be the disruptions bought about by AI across all sectors,” Wu said in the letter, adding: “If we don’t keep up with the changes of the AI era, we will be displaced.”

(Reporting by Casey Hall; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Gerry Doyle)