Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has reshuffled top management at its shopping platforms to streamline operations and enhance efficiency. The move comes as Alibaba faces criticism for not doing enough to prevent the sales of fake goods on its platforms. The Hangzhou-based company has appointed Jeff Zhang, the former president of Taobao, as the head of its newly created ‘China retail marketplaces.’
Alibaba dismissed Wang Yulei from the position of Tmall head
Alibaba has brought together its e-commerce platforms Tmall, Taobao and group-buying site Juhuasuan under the China retail marketplaces division. Sources familiar with the changes told Gillian Wong of The Wall Street Journal that Wang Yulei, the chief of Tmall platform, had been dismissed from that position, though Mr Yulei remains with the company.
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The platforms will continue to operate independently. But having all of them report to Zhang will enhance efficiency. Jeff Zhang will report directly to Alibaba COO Daniel Zhang. Alibaba has assured Chinese regulators that it would step up fight against fake goods and improve the credibility of its online platforms. Jeff Zhang’s appointment is one of the highest-profile shuffles since Alibaba’s IPO in September last year.
Crackdown on fakes may hurt Alibaba’s GMV growth
In a research note, Credit Suisse analysts said that Alibaba’s efforts to crackdown on counterfeit goods may hurt its gross merchandise volume (GMV) growth. That’s because it has become a common practice among sellers on Alibaba’s sites to use fake transactions in order to raise their visibility on the platforms. The company said it would use technological tools to identify and remove such orders from its sites.
The high-profile shuffle comes days before a lockup expiration on 429 million Alibaba shares. That’s more shares than the number sold during the company’s historic IPO when Alibaba, its executives, investors and other insiders sold 368 million shares. The lockup on 429 million shares will expire on March 18. Another 1.6 billion shares of the online retailer will become available for sale in September.
Alibaba shares fell 0.93% to $81.76 at 10:32 AM EDT on Tuesday.