The president of Alibaba’s e-commerce site Tmall has asked the company to launch investigations against himself following an affair accusation made by his wife on social media platform Weibo, local newspaper Beijing News reported Saturday, citing people familiar with the matter.
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Why it matters: Jiang Fan, the president of Tmall and Taobao, another Alibaba online marketplace, is one of the most important executives of Alibaba and was widely seen as a potential successor of Zhang Yong, the current CEO of Alibaba Group.
Details: Jiang has apologized for the “impact on the company and colleagues” because of “remarks made by one of his family members on Weibo” in a post published on Alibaba’s internal website, Beijing News reported. He is calling for the investigation because of the “bad effects” the scandal may have on the company.
- While Jiang didn’t identify his relationship with the family member, a Weibo user described by Chinese media as his wife posted on Friday a statement that warned a social media influencer not to “mess around” with her husband.
- The post became a trending topic with nearly 40,000 likes on Weibo before it was deleted on Friday, according to a screenshot circulating online. It is unknown whether the post was taken down by Weibo or by the user with the handle “Huahua Dong Huahua.”
- In another post on Friday, the Weibo user said the comment function of her account was “disabled.” The post is also not available on Weibo as of Monday.
- Alibaba is US-listed Weibo’s second-largest shareholder with a 31.5% stake in the company. Weibo cannot be reached for comment. An Alibaba representative declined to comment on Monday.
Context: Jiang, 35, is a Google veteran who joined Alibaba in 2013 after the company acquired his mobile app analytics startup, Umeng.
- He has been leading the development of Taobao’s mobile app since 2014 and helped increase the marketplace’s daily active users from 30 million to more than 100 million, according to Beijing News.