Li_DanLi_Dan ・ Apr. 11, 2024
Alibaba Shares Rise Nearly 5% on Jack Ma's Praise of Overhaul and Embrace of AI Era
We are starting to operate on the diseases of a big company, returning again to the highest levels of efficiency and a market-first approach, to once again allow the company to be simple and agile, Ma said.

TMTPost -- Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba Group rose around 4.9% on Wednesday, the largest daily gain in about two months. The shares rally came after Alibaba’s iconic founder Jack Ma cheered overhaul the company experienced in the past year and encouraged employees to grasp more opportunities amid a promising wave of artificial intelligence (AI) era.

Credit:Xinhua News Agency

Credit:Xinhua News Agency

“The essential change over the year is to recognize ourselves, rather than to catch up with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). We are starting to operate on the diseases of a big company, returning again from an organization that makes decisions slowly back to the highest levels of efficiency and a market-first approach, to once again allow the company to be simple and agile,” Ma said in a post at an internal Alibaba forum Wednesday.

Noting he has urged to change and reform at the intranet last year, Ma said Alibaba has carried out a series of future-oriented overhaul led by Alibaba Group Chairman Joe Tsai and CEO Eddie Wu, who took their roles last year, with their “admirable” courage and wisdom. “ In the past year, the new management has made various changes, not only to break down the fixed strategy, but also to create a future Alibaba,” Ma commented. The 59-year old business magnate showed his gratitude for all the Alibaba employees’ efforts in the year since each of them was involved in the reorganization and all the reforms and innovations are “painful”. “Over the past year, amid external and internal doubt and pressures, I have witnessed the birth of a strong and courageous Alibaba team,” Ma said at the post, adding that it is employees’ persistent effort that has helped the company get back to the track of healthy growth.   

In his response to a post on Alibaba’s internal forum last November, Ma said he firmly believes Alibaba will change and make correction and highlighted reform is a key for Alibaba’s comeback. The organization is respectable only if it can  adopt a reform to become a superpower in the future and get ready to implement it at whatever costs and sacrifice , Ma said. He also called for Alibaba to refocus on its mission and vision, namely, to make it easy doing business anywhere.

Ma suggested potential of AI technology for Alibaba’s key business e-commerce in November. “Every great company is born in a winter. As the artificial intelligence (AI) era for e-commerce is right at its beginning, it is an opportunity for everyone as well as a challenge,” Ma responded to the post, whose creator talked about PDD’s market capitalization gap between Alibaba was narrowed to just US$8 billion as a reminder for all the colleagues to work together to regain traction.

In the post Wednesday released Wednesday, Ma judged that "a time span of three to five years is like a century in the internet industry, enough to bring about earth-shaking changes”, and embraced an AI era. “The AI era has just arrived, and everything has just begun. We are just at the right time," Ma wrote. He called on Alibaba staff to make further reform. “In the future, we need to be more active and proactive in changing ourselves quickly, and we need greater reforms to build a vibrant future Alibaba,” Ma concluded the post.

At the beginning of the post, Ma noted he was showed a interview video of Tsai these days, and was told that Tsai severely slapped Alibaba for its previous mistakes in the video. Ma deemed it as Tsai’s outstanding courage and responsibility for what makes thing really terrible is that one does not know his mistakes, nor admitting them or correcting them.

Tsai pointed out in the interview last week that China’s tech companies are “possibly two years behind” the top AI firms in the U.S., such as OpenAI. He noted U.S. export restrictions that deny Chinese companies’ access to advanced semiconductors, such as the highly sought-after graphics processing units (GPUs) from Nvidia, have “definitely affected” tech firms on the mainland, including Alibaba. Tsai admitted U.S. export restrictions on AI chips “did affect our cloud business and our ability to offer high-end computing services to our customers”, and expected limited access to Nvidia’s best-in-class AI hardware will impact Chinese cloud providers in the short to medium term before there are strong domestic alternatives.

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