Ma’s re­tire­ment won’t in­hibit Alibaba in In­dia

In­vest­ment strat­egy not likely to un­dergo sig­nif­i­cant changes: ex­pert

Global Times - - Front Page -

The successor of Alibaba Group’s founder Jack Ma Yun will not make big ad­just­ments to the com­pany’s strat­egy in the In­dian mar­ket af­ter he takes over next year, but de­vel­op­ments are yet to be seen, said an in­dus­try an­a­lyst.

The com­ment came af­ter In­dian me­dia ques­tioned whether Ma’s “big plans” in the coun­try will be in­her­ited and car­ried out well by his successor.

The Free Press Jour­nal on Sun­day ex­pressed con­cerns over Ma’s re­tire­ment by an­a­lyz­ing Alibaba’s cur­rent in­vest­ment plan in In­dia. The com­pany on Mon­day of­fi­cially re­leased the suc­ces­sion plan in­clud­ing the an­nounce­ment of Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang Yong’s ap­point­ment as the new ex­ec­u­tive chair­man be­gin­ning Septem­ber 10, 2019.

“When it came to In­dia, Ma al­ways had big plans,” the re­port said, list­ing Alibaba’s di­ver­si­fied port­fo­lio in In­dia in­clud­ing in­vest­ments in dig­i­tal pay­ment plat­form Paytm, cloud com­put­ing via Alibaba Cloud and the dig­i­tal me­dia space via UCWeb as well as sev­eral other in­no­va­tive ini­tia­tives.

The com­pany’s in­vest­ment strat­egy is not likely to un­dergo sig­nif­i­cant changes, Zhao Gancheng, direc­tor of the South Asia Stud­ies Depart­ment at the Shang­hai In­sti­tute for In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies who has vis­ited In­dia many times, told the Global Times on Wed­nes­day.

“It is be­cause Alibaba’s lead­er­ship regime is not based on Ma’s per­sonal charisma. The com­pany has a set of col­lec­tive de­ci­sion-mak­ing mech­a­nisms. It’s an open cor­po­ra­tion op­er­ated by a group of re­spon­si­ble part­ners,” Zhao noted. “And In­dia is gen­er­ally keen on Chi­nese in­vest­ment too.”

Ma’s in­struc­tions to his successor must be fo­cused on In­dian tech­nol­ogy do­mains, the re­port said, not­ing that Alibaba is also in­creas­ing its foot­print in the gov­ern­ment sec­tor.

The Andhra Pradesh Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Board (APEDB) signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with Alibaba Cloud on Septem­ber 3.

“The In­dian mar­ket has in­es­timable po­ten­tial, but it’s still hard to turn it into re­al­ity,” Zhao said. “The coun­try’s busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, laws and reg­u­la­tions are fairly com­pli­cated. I hope the com­pany can make mar­ket-driven de­ci­sions there,” he added.

“The de­vel­op­ments of Alibaba’s plan in In­dia are yet to be seen,” Zhao said, not­ing that “on­line pay­ment busi­nesses can be sen­si­tive, be­cause they con­cern na­tional se­cu­rity.”

The re­port also men­tioned Ma’s meet­ing with In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in 2015 and their dis­cus­sion about ways to em­power small busi­nesses in the coun­try.

“Zhang’s me­dia ex­po­sure is com­par­a­tively lim­ited. Be­cause of this, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Alibaba’s plan in In­dia is ex­pected to be af­fected,” Zhao es­ti­mated.

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