Alibaba Founder Jack Ma Resigns as Company Chief

2019-09-11

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1
  • Jack Ma has resigned as chairman of Alibaba Group, the world's biggest e-commerce business.
  • 2
  • Ma is one of China's wealthiest and best-known business leaders.
  • 3
  • He stepped down as Alibaba's chief on his 55th birthday.
  • 4
  • The move was part of a process announced a year ago.
  • 5
  • He will stay on as a member of the Alibaba Partnership, a 36-member group.
  • 6
  • Ma, a former English teacher, founded Alibaba in 1999 to connect Chinese exporters to retail businesses in North America.
  • 7
  • China's growing consumer market is now central to Alibaba's business.
  • 8
  • The company has expanded into online banking, entertainment and cloud computing.
  • 9
  • Chinese businesses were responsible for 66 percent of its $16.7 billion in earnings from March through June of this year.
  • 10
  • Chinese retailing is facing increased risks during the current trade war between China and the United States.
  • 11
  • The war has raised the cost of U.S. imports in China.
  • 12
  • Growth in online sales slowed to 17.8 percent in the first half of 2019 as the country's economic growth slowed.
  • 13
  • The 2018 growth rate was 23.9 percent.
  • 14
  • The total amount of goods sold throughout Alibaba's e-commerce businesses rose 25 percent last year to $853 billion.
  • 15
  • By comparison, the biggest U.S. e-commerce company, Amazon.com Inc., reported total sales of $277 billion.
  • 16
  • Joe Tsai is Alibaba's deputy chairman.
  • 17
  • Tsai told reporters in May the company is "on the right side" of issues in U.S.-Chinese trade talks.
  • 18
  • He added that Alibaba stands to improve with Beijing's promise to increase imports and a growing consumer market.
  • 19
  • Alibaba was established at a time when few Chinese were active online.
  • 20
  • As internet use spread, the company expanded into consumer-centered retailing and services.
  • 21
  • Few Chinese used credit cards, so Alibaba created the Alipay online payments system.
  • 22
  • The Hurun Report, which reports on wealth in China, estimates Ma's financial worth as $38 billion.
  • 23
  • In 2015, the businessman bought The South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's biggest English-language newspaper.
  • 24
  • Alibaba's new chairman is Daniel Zhang, who has been with the company for 12 years.
  • 25
  • Alibaba's e-commerce business includes business-to-business Alibaba.com.
  • 26
  • It links foreign buyers with Chinese suppliers of goods from home goods to medical technology.
  • 27
  • Another Alibaba business is Tmall, with online stores for popular products.
  • 28
  • In 2014, Alipay became a financial company, called Ant Financial.
  • 29
  • Alibaba also operates a film studio and invested in planning and transport services.
  • 30
  • Ma faced questions in 2011 when Alibaba gave control of Alipay to a company he controlled without immediately informing shareholders.
  • 31
  • Alibaba said the move was necessary to obey Chinese law.
  • 32
  • However, some financial experts said the company was paid too little for a valuable property.
  • 33
  • Alibaba and shareholders Yahoo and Japan's Softbank later settled the dispute.
  • 34
  • Business experts have questioned the Alibaba Partnership, which gives Ma and a group of company officials more control over the business than shareholders.
  • 35
  • Ma has argued that such a system helps Alibaba to center on long-term development instead of reacting to pressure from financial markets.
  • 36
  • I'm Susan Shand.
  • 1
  • Jack Ma has resigned as chairman of Alibaba Group, the world's biggest e-commerce business.
  • 2
  • Ma is one of China's wealthiest and best-known business leaders. He stepped down as Alibaba's chief on his 55th birthday. The move was part of a process announced a year ago.
  • 3
  • He will stay on as a member of the Alibaba Partnership, a 36-member group.
  • 4
  • Ma, a former English teacher, founded Alibaba in 1999 to connect Chinese exporters to retail businesses in North America.
  • 5
  • China's growing consumer market is now central to Alibaba's business. The company has expanded into online banking, entertainment and cloud computing. Chinese businesses were responsible for 66 percent of its $16.7 billion in earnings from March through June of this year.
  • 6
  • Slowing sales
  • 7
  • Chinese retailing is facing increased risks during the current trade war between China and the United States. The war has raised the cost of U.S. imports in China.
  • 8
  • Growth in online sales slowed to 17.8 percent in the first half of 2019 as the country's economic growth slowed. The 2018 growth rate was 23.9 percent.
  • 9
  • The total amount of goods sold throughout Alibaba's e-commerce businesses rose 25 percent last year to $853 billion. By comparison, the biggest U.S. e-commerce company, Amazon.com Inc., reported total sales of $277 billion.
  • 10
  • Joe Tsai is Alibaba's deputy chairman. Tsai told reporters in May the company is "on the right side" of issues in U.S.-Chinese trade talks. He added that Alibaba stands to improve with Beijing's promise to increase imports and a growing consumer market.
  • 11
  • Growth of online sales
  • 12
  • Alibaba was established at a time when few Chinese were active online. As internet use spread, the company expanded into consumer-centered retailing and services. Few Chinese used credit cards, so Alibaba created the Alipay online payments system.
  • 13
  • The Hurun Report, which reports on wealth in China, estimates Ma's financial worth as $38 billion.
  • 14
  • In 2015, the businessman bought The South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's biggest English-language newspaper.
  • 15
  • Alibaba's new chairman is Daniel Zhang, who has been with the company for 12 years.
  • 16
  • Alibaba's e-commerce business includes business-to-business Alibaba.com. It links foreign buyers with Chinese suppliers of goods from home goods to medical technology. Another Alibaba business is Tmall, with online stores for popular products.
  • 17
  • In 2014, Alipay became a financial company, called Ant Financial. Alibaba also operates a film studio and invested in planning and transport services.
  • 18
  • Ma faced questions in 2011 when Alibaba gave control of Alipay to a company he controlled without immediately informing shareholders. Alibaba said the move was necessary to obey Chinese law. However, some financial experts said the company was paid too little for a valuable property. Alibaba and shareholders Yahoo and Japan's Softbank later settled the dispute.
  • 19
  • Business experts have questioned the Alibaba Partnership, which gives Ma and a group of company officials more control over the business than shareholders.
  • 20
  • Ma has argued that such a system helps Alibaba to center on long-term development instead of reacting to pressure from financial markets.
  • 21
  • I'm Susan Shand.
  • 22
  • VOA's Dora Mekouar reported this story. Caty Weaver adapted it for Learning English. was the editor.
  • 23
  • _______________________________________________
  • 24
  • Words in This Story
  • 25
  • e-commerce --n. business carried out over the internet
  • 26
  • retail --n. the business of selling products directly to customers for their own use
  • 27
  • consumer --n. someone who buys products for their own use and not for business
  • 28
  • studio --n. a business that makes movies
  • 29
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