Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Hires Ex-Goldman Exec In International Push

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Chinese online retail behemoth has appointed former Goldman Sachs Vice Chairman Michael Evans as its new president. Alibaba said in a statement that Evans will oversee the company’s international expansion strategy. Notably, Evans has been a board member of Alibaba since the Chinese giant went public in September 2014.


Michael Evans is a ‘proven international leader’

His appointment as the President of Alibaba Group is the latest move in the company’s globalization efforts. Currently, less than 10% of the Hangzhou-based company’s revenue comes from outside China. Alibaba founder Jack Ma aims to increase the share of international revenue to 40% of the total. Evans will report directly to Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang.

Michael Evans was the chairman of Goldman Sachs’ Asia operations for almost a decade. Jack Ma said Evans is the right guy to lead Alibaba’s globalization efforts because he is a “proven international leader who has been connecting China and the rest of the world for most of his career.” Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said Evans was a “close adviser” to the company with “deep knowledge of our business.”

Globalization a top priority for Alibaba

Immediately after taking over as the CEO of Alibaba in May, Daniel Zhang said globalization was the top priority for the company. Evans will focus on striking deals with international brands and retailers. He will spearhead the company’s campaign to boost cross-border trade. In June, Alibaba executive chairman said during his U.S. trip that the Chinese e-commerce giant aims to be the “e-WTO” for small businesses. He encouraged American small businesses to setup shops on Alibaba sites and sell goods to Chinese consumers.

Alibaba’s goal is to serve 2 billion customers worldwide and have at least 10 million global businesses on its platforms. The company estimates to surpass $1 trillion in annual gross merchandise volume by 2020. Daniel Zhang has also said that he would diversify Alibaba’s workforce by hiring “employees from all over the world that look different from each other.”

Alibaba shares rose 0.56% to $78.39 in pre-market trading Tuesday.


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