New Alibaba Group chief executive Eddie Wu says company will prioritise users and AI as it undergoes historic restructure
New Alibaba Group chief executive Eddie Wu has said the Chinese tech giant will focus on the strategic priorities of “user first” and “artificial intelligence (AI)-driven”, as the company undergoes a major restructure.
In a message sent to staff on Tuesday morning, Wu, who took over as chief executive on Sunday, said the priorities were a response to the changing competitive landscape.
“As traditional internet models become increasingly homogeneous and face the competitive pressures of saturation, new technologies such as AI are emerging as the new engine of global business growth,” he wrote.
“We will recalibrate our operations around these two core strategies and reshape our business priorities.”
Wu also said Alibaba is committed to advancing younger employees born after 1985 into core leadership roles.
“I firmly believe that as long as we get back to our start-up mindset, not dwell on the past and not get stuck in our old ways, Alibaba will be rewarded with enormous growth and create even greater value in the era of AI,” he wrote.
Wu said Alibaba would boost its strategic investments into technology-driven internet platforms, AI-driven tech businesses and global commerce networks.
On Sunday Wu also took over as acting chief executive of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Group, the company’s cloud unit, in a surprise move after former group chairman and chief executive Daniel Zhang said he would be leaving Alibaba.
Zhang had previously said in June he would stay on as head of the cloud business after handing chairmanship of the parent group to co-founder Joe Tsai.
Alibaba is currently undergoing the biggest restructure in its 24-year history, which involves spinning off five units, including the cloud business, into separate companies with independent fundraising opportunities.
Cloud Intelligence Group, valued at $41 billion (£33bn) to $60bn this year, is aiming to hold an IPO by May 2024.
The cloud unit is Alibaba’s second-biggest revenue generator after domestic e-commerce, and operates Alibaba’s AI model Tongyi Qianwen, introduced in April as a competitor to ChatGPT.
Wu emphasised the importance of AI as a “change agent” in the coming decade.
“Over the next decade, the most significant change agent will be the disruptions bought about by AI across all sectors,” he said.
“If we don’t keep up with the changes of the AI era, we will be displaced.”