July 23, 2024

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Jack Ma Urges Alibaba to ‘Correct Course’ in Rare Internal Memo

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(Bloomberg) — Jack Ma urged Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to correct course in a surprise internal memo, in which the billionaire called for fundamental change across the company he co-founded decades ago.

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Ma, who has mostly stayed away from day-to-day operations since 2020, stunned employees Wednesday by replying to a staff post on Alibaba’s internal forum. In his brief message, the entrepreneur praised decisions taken in recent years by rival PDD Holdings Inc. to wrest market share from China’s e-commerce leader. But Ma was convinced Alibaba will change and “correct its course,” he said in a post confirmed by people familiar with the forum.

“Every great company is born in a winter,” the billionaire wrote. “As the AI era for e-commerce gets underway, it’s an opportunity for everyone as well as a challenge.”

Ma’s missive comes as Alibaba navigates turmoil both internally and externally, as a weaker-than-anticipated economic recovery and up-and-coming rivals such as PDD and ByteDance Ltd. are undermining its once-dominant online retail business. An Alibaba representative didn’t immediately respond to a call and message seeking comment.

The company this year has undergone a series of internal upheavals, starting with the announcement of a plan to break up the corporation into six smaller pieces. Then-Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang stepped down and the company brought in two longstanding Ma confidantes, Joseph Tsai and Eddie Wu, to run the company. Months later, the pair announced they were shelving the much-anticipated spinoff and listing of its $11 billion cloud arm, a stunning about-face that called into question the company’s future direction.

It’s unclear where Ma saw the most pressing need for change, but his unusual memo suggests the co-founder felt the need to address the troops. The comments to Alibaba staff are the latest sign that the once-outspoken billionaire is becoming more publicly…



2023-11-29 00:38:45

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