Chinese tech giant Alibaba announced a major organizational reshuffle on Thursday with the goal of further integrating its core domestic e-commerce businesses.

Why it matters: This is the first organizational reshuffle since Trudy Dai, a founding member of Alibaba, was named last December as head of the tech giant’s China Digital Commerce unit. The unit manages the company’s domestic commerce platforms such as Taobao, Tmall, Alimama, Taocaicai, and Taobao Deals, as well as its B2C retail business.

  • The adjustment comes as Alibaba faces headwinds on multiple fronts from increasing competition, a regulatory crackdown, and a slowing economy.

Details: While maintaining the dual-branding strategy for Taobao and Tmall, the company will set up three new business centers to connect the back-end operations of the two e-commerce platforms and related services under the business unit, according to a Thursday internal letter which was made public by local media.

  • One center, focused on improving user experience, is to be helmed by Yu Feng (whose internal company nickname is Xuande), the former head of Taobao Live. 
  • The second, dedicated to product operations and development, aims to better serve merchants on Taobao and Tmall. This center will be overseen by Yang Guang (nickname: Chuixue), a former member of the management team at Taobao and Tmall. 
  • The third is focused on upgrading platform operation mechanics and digitizing merchant operating systems. It will be run by Wang Mingqiang (nickname: Sihan), current president of AliExpress and former head of Taobao search.
  • Adjustments are also being made to the company’s content generation business, with new heads named for livestreaming and social shopping services.
  • Alibaba Group Chief Technology Officer Cheng Li (nickname: Lusu) and Chief Risk Officer/Chief Customer Officer Zheng Junfang (nickname: Shitai) will fill the same roles for the domestic e-commerce business unit. That unit includes Taobao, Tmall, and Alimama.
  • The changes aim to “upgrade user experience, improve client values,” and “encourage innovation,” according to the internal letter. All the new appointments will report directly to Dai.

Context: Alibaba announced in December that it had created two new units: one for its domestic e-commerce businesses and the other for international e-commerce businesses. Trudy Dai will lead the domestic unit, and Jiang Fan will head the global one.

  • Alibaba’s retail marketplaces served 953 million annual active consumers in China as of Sept. 30, 2021, according to figures from the company.
  • Alibaba experienced a tumultuous year in 2021. The company was hit with a $2.8 billion fine for antitrust violations.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via lixin@sixthtone.com or Twitter.