Alibaba holds its annual shareholder meeting in Hong Kong today. Jack Ma, the Chinese business magnate and Alibaba’s co-founder, addresses shareholders in an open letter as Alibaba’s executive chairman for the last time. Ma’s successor Daniel Zhang also sends a CEO’s letter to shareholders.
In his letter, Ma reiterated his retire plan. The role of chairman will be transitioned to Zhang in September next year. Ma pointed out that although smooth leadership succession and culture continuity is the biggest challenge for any business, Alibaba has established unique talent development and corporate culture systems and the leadership team is ready for the future.
“As for myself, I will devote more time and effort to education, philanthropy and the environment.” wrote Ma, “While I will not allow myself sit idle, this time, I will be able to spend time on choosing interesting and meaningful causes that I can be passionate about.”
Ma also restated Alibaba’s mission to “make it easy to do business anywhere”, especially “when it gets difficult to do business”. The same mission was emphasized in Zhang’s letter as well, pointing to its significance in the company’s evolvement from an e-commerce company into a digital economy.
What else has been raised in both letters is Alibaba’s globalization strategy. Ma and Zhang said the company has made progress towards realizing its goals of “global buy”, “global sell”, “global pay”, “global delivery’ and “global travel”, as well as promoting inclusiveness based on “4Ts” — trade, tourism, training and technology.
According to Zhang, as of March 31, 2018, gross merchandise volume (GMV) of Alibaba’s core commerce reached $760 billion, marking a 58 percent increase year-on-year. Tmall’s physical goods GMV recorded a 45 percent year-on-year increase, while revenue from international retail business grew 94 percent year-on-year in the fiscal year of 2018.
As for Alibaba’s future development, Ma underscored the company’s commitment to sustainable growth for at least 102 years. By the year 2036, the company aims to serve 2 billion global consumers, empower 10 million profitable businesses and provide 100 million jobs.