Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has appointed a new chief executive, and announced 45 per cent growth for the quarter.
Daniel Zhang currently chief operating officer, will become chief executive and has said he would continue his predecessor’s push into mobile and and expansion into new businesses. He replaces Jonathan Lu, who will remain on the board as vice chairman. Zhang has made clear that his vision for the company is international expansion.
The company’s mobile take rate, or the percentage of people who take some form of action on a website, dipped slightly last quarter due to activity around the Chinese New Year, when much of the country is on holiday, Zhang said. However, in the big picture, Chinese customers and merchants continue to move from personal computers to mobile phones, he said.
Zhang is reported to have told employees at a strategy meeting at Alibaba’s headquarters in the city of Hangzhou in May 2015 that the company “must absolutely globalize and it must be a successful effort.” He said the push abroad will include AliExpress, a sales platform that helps sell Chinese goods to consumers abroad, and Tmall Global, a platform that helps foreign brands better reach Chinese consumers.
Alibaba said it is buying a minority stake in logistics company Shanghai YTO Express Co. The companies will work together on improving logistics management and international and rural delivery services.
While Alibaba has grown quickly into the world’s largest e-commerce platform, measured by the volume of transactions, its focus has remained largely on China. It has taken modest steps into the U.S. and elsewhere, including its recent 2015 purchase last week of a 9 per cent stake in U.S. online retailer Zulily Inc and a 2013 investment in ShopRunner, a business which promises to deliver products from retailers within two days.
Alibaba’s quarterly revenue jumped 45 percent to $2.81 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of $2.77 billion.