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Nets owner Joe Tsai named Alibaba’s new chairman

Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai, the billionaire owner of the Brooklyn Net, will take over as chairman of the Chinese e-commerce giant, the company said Tuesday.

Tsai, a Taiwanese-Canadian billionaire with a reported net worth of $7.7 billion, replaces Daniel Zhang, who stepped down to focus on Alibaba’s “crown jewel” cloud division.

Tsai, a Yale graduate, helped launch the company in 1999 and served as the company’s chief financial officer until 2013 before stepping into the executive vice chairman role.

In 2017, he paid $1 billion for a 49% stake in the Nets and forked over an additional $1.35 billion over three years for control of the team and the Barclays Center.

He will replace Zhang as head of Alibaba’s board of directors.

Zhang joined Alibaba in 2007, and worked as an architect behind the company’s annual “Singles Day” shopping festival before stepping into the CEO role in 2019. He took on the chairmanship that same year.

The CEO role will be handed over to Eddie Yongming Wu, a fellow co-founder who was previously serving as the chairman of Alibaba’s subsidiaries, Chinese online shopping platform Taobao and business-to-consumer website Tmall Group, Alibaba said in a statement.

Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai has been promoted from his position as executive vice chairman to chairman after Daniel Zhang stepped down to oversee Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Group.
Getty Images

The executive shuffle will take effect on Sept. 10.

“The appointment of Daniel to focus on running cloud is really a show of confidence and trust in him to take the most precious business and run with it to develop it in the right way given this age of generative artificial intelligence (AI),” former Alibaba employee Brian Wong told Reuters.

Wong, who authored the book “The Tao of Alibaba,” continued: “The idea or expectation that one person could manage the business’ crown jewel Cloud and at the same time manage the entire Alibaba Group is an unreasonable expectation.”

The Post has reached out to Alibaba for comment.

Analysts have estimated Alibaba’s cloud unit to be worth $41 billion to $60 billion, according to Reuters.

Alibaba's US-listed shares dipped 2.48% in premarket trading on Tuesday after the announcement of the executive shuffle, which will take effect on Sept. 10.
Alibaba’s US-listed shares dipped 2.48% in premarket trading on Tuesday after the announcement of the executive shuffle, which will take effect on Sept. 10.
VCG via Getty Images

However, the large-scale cloud computing services it oversees as the biggest cloud services platform in China has already raised red flags from regulators based at home and abroad, the outlet reported.

Alibaba’s US-listed shares dipped 2.48% in premarket trading on Tuesday after the announcement.

The stock is down about 70% from its peak in late 2020 as China’s tech crackdown progressed.

Alibaba’s reshuffling comes after Beijing authorities have cracked down on regulations across the country’s tech sector.

Zhang stepped down from his post as Alibaba's CEO and chairman on Tuesday -- positions he's held since 2015 and 2019, respectively. He will now oversee the e-commerce giant's cloud division, which is valued between $41 billion and $60 billion.
Zhang stepped down from his post as Alibaba’s CEO and chairman on Tuesday — positions he’s held since 2015 and 2019, respectively.
AFP via Getty Images

The e-commerce behemoth is currently in the process of splitting its business into six independently-run companies, which Alibaba has said is “the most significant governance overhaul” since co-founder Jack Ma built the empire alongside Tsai and Wu.

Alibaba said each of the six entities “will be managed by its own CEO and board of directors.”

The move to split Alibaba’s operations addresses a key concern of officials from the Chinese Communist Party, who had raised concerns about the rising power and influence of the e-commerce firm, fellow tech giant Tencent and other notable tech firms.

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