Alibaba’s next company chairman stated in December 2021 that he “like[s] crypto” and has backed a number of cryptocurrencies through his wealth manager.
Daniel Zhang will be succeeded as company chair by Joe Tsai, the soon-to-be-former executive vice chair of Alibaba, a titan in the Chinese technology industry.
In a statement on June 20, Alibaba stated that Zhang would continue to lead the Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Group after resigning as the company’s chair and CEO on September 10. Tsai has invested in a number of cryptocurrency companies through wealth manager Blue Pool Capital, including FTX, Polygon’s $450 million funding round in February, and Web3 company Artifact Labs.
Zhang will be succeeded as CEO of Alibaba by Eddie Yongming Wu, head of Taobao and Tmall Group, who will also succeed him on the company’s board of directors. With a market valuation of more than $225 billion at the time of publishing, Alibaba is one of the biggest corporations in the world, ranking behind Chinese companies Tencent, Kweichow Moutai, and ICBC.
“I look forward to working with Eddie to spark our next phase of growth through technology and innovation,” said Tsai.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies have had a complicated history in China. The nation gained notoriety in 2021 for tightening down on mining enterprises, which led to a flight of businesses to other countries, but it has also been promoting experiments of a digital yuan through the People’s Bank of China.
Nonfungible tokens (NFTs), on the other hand, seem to work in China in a murky area where the rules aren’t clear. In 2021, Alibaba opened an NFT marketplace for copyright trading, as well as an NFT solution in its cloud business unit. However, the cloud business unit’s NFT solution was taken down without any reason soon after it opened.