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Daniel Zhang Yong, Alibaba Group Holding’s chairman and chief executive, earlier in January stepped down from the board of directors of Weibo, days after he left the board of Didi Chuxing. Photo: Handout

Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang relinquishes corporate role at Taobao, Tmall as part of e-commerce giant’s management reshuffle

  • Trudy Dai Shan, one of Alibaba’s founding members in 1999, has succeeded Zhang as legal representative of the corporate entities behind Taobao and Tmall
  • Dai, who has worked across multiple business segments in Alibaba, currently serves as the firm’s president of core domestic e-commerce
Alibaba Group Holding chairman and chief executive Daniel Zhang Yong has relinquished his role as legal representative of the corporate entities behind Taobao Marketplace and Tmall, following the biggest ever management reshuffle initiated by China’s leading e-commerce company last December.
Trudy Dai Shan, one of Alibaba’s founding members in 1999 and a company partner, has succeeded Zhang as legal representative at both Taobao Software Co and Zhejiang Tmall Technology Co, where she also serves as chairwoman and general manager, according to data from Chinese corporate registry tracking firm Tianyancha.
Dai, who has worked across multiple business segments in Alibaba, last December was appointed to head Alibaba’s China digital commerce unit, which combines the company’s consumer-facing and wholesale online marketplaces. In January, she started her first major initiative in that role by reorganising the back-end operations of Taobao and Tmall.

Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Trudy Dai Shan serves as president of core domestic e-commerce at Alibaba Group Holding. Photo: Handout
Jiang Fan, the retail wunderkind who now heads Alibaba’s overseas e-commerce operations, has also stepped aside as legal representative, chairman and general manager of Zhejiang Taobao Network Co and Zhejiang Tmall Network Co from this month, according to Chinese corporate registry records.
The latest moves under Alibaba’s sweeping management reshuffle come as the company navigates a tightened regulatory environment amid Beijing’s crackdown on the technology sector.
In April last year, China’s antitrust regulator slapped Alibaba with a record fine of 18.2 billion yuan (US$2.8 billion) for abusing its dominant position in the country’s online retail market. A few months later, Zhang told Alibaba shareholders that the fine made the company “more thoughtful about [its] responsibilities” in the industry.
In January this year, Zhang resigned from the board of directors of Weibo, the Chinese microblogging service in which Alibaba is the second-largest shareholder, days after he left the board of ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing.
Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang on how technology is reshaping consumer buying behaviour

Zhang’s stint as legal representative of Tmall and Taobao took a lot of effort and energy from Alibaba’s top executive, according to Zhang Yi, chief executive at research firm iiMedia.

“I don’t think [having Alibaba’s chairman continue in that role] is the best solution [for the company],” iiMedia’s Zhang said. “The changes made [by Alibaba] show that the development of Taobao and Tmall has reached a bottleneck and a breakthrough is needed.”

On Dai’s latest corporate responsibility, analysts expect her to face a new set of challenges.

“Dai has her work cut out for her, as Alibaba navigates increased competition and anaemic consumption growth,” said Michael Norris, research and strategy manager at marketing advisory firm AgencyChina. “Principal challenges include keeping Taobao competitive amid low-cost competition and keeping Tmall competitive amid new e-commerce formats.”

Alibaba revenue slump extends to December quarter amid weak consumer spending

Before starting her job as president of core domestic e-commerce in January, Dai served as president of Alibaba’s industrial e-commerce operation from January 2017 to December 2021. That included,, AliExpress, Taobao Deals and digital agriculture. She concurrently served as president of Alibaba’s community e-commerce from March to December 2021. She was also Alibaba’s chief customer officer from June 2014 to January 2017.

In February, Alibaba reported a 10 per cent revenue increase in the three months ended December 31, marking its slowest sales growth since it went public in 2014, as Beijing’s scrutiny of Big Tech firms continued amid weakened consumer spending because of China’s zero-Covid-19 strategy to counter the latest outbreaks across the country.
The company’s latest quarterly results reflect how China’s online retail market is no longer a two-horse race between Alibaba and, as new competitors Pinduoduo, ByteDance-owned Douyin and Kuaishou Technology grab their share of sales in the world’s largest e-commerce market.