Alibaba CEO discusses future with Yahoo!

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba was recently questioned regarding the future of Yahoo’s stake in his firm. He gave no insight as to what may happen down the line. One point that he is adamant about is that Alibaba was in no way responsible for the very recent dismissal of Yahoo! chief Carol Bartz.

Speculation has been rife that Yahoo! is now planning to dissociate itself from its Asian acquisitions, which include companies such as Alibaba. This may be part of the “strategic review” following Bartz’s departure.

At an annual Alibaba gathering of entrepreneurs, Ma said, “These days, we have a lot of things happening — the CEO of Yahoo! has stepped down. A lot of people said it’s because of me. Actually, I will tell you, it has nothing to do with me.”

Yahoo! values Alibaba as one of its healthiest assets, but a recent dispute over Alibaba’s Alipay platform has placed undue strain on the partnership. Ma moved Alipay out of the Alibaba group without prior approval from the board of directors, of which Yahoo! is a member. Ma continues to insist that Yahoo! was notified of the transfer of ownership and that his actions complied with the Chinese licensing agreements.

While Ma may be sketchy surrounding his plans for Alibaba and Yahoo!, he remains confident that the future of his company lies in “shaking up sectors traditionally controlled by Chinese state companies such as logistics, telecommunications and banking”.

Logistics, in particular, is a pet project of Ma. Wireless internet use has remained a challenge for Chinese telecom parastatals and Ma says that the mobile internet should be provided to everyone.

Chief architect of Alibaba, Wang Jian said, “In the era of mobile Internet, we can provide customised services with very low cost. You will be able to provide services at any time to all the people. You will not be limited by traditional ways”. With 900-million mobile phone users in China, Ma has the potential to reach an incredibly wide audience.



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