Jonathan Lu, Alibaba Group’s new CEO, says the e-commerce giant has plans to expand its Taobao Marketplace platforms to take advantage of China’s growing e-tailing and consumer markets.
Speaking to reporters today in Hong Kong, Lu shared his vision of enhanced products and services from Alibaba Group, in particular a 24-hour nationwide delivery service that will bring more users to Taobao platforms.An efficient courier network will even enable perishable foodstuffs such as Matsutake mushrooms from Yunnan Province and quality rice from the northeastern part of China to be sold directly to the rest of the country by farmers without going through layers of intermediaries.
“A responsible corporation should task itself with providing solutions to the challenges oftomorrow,” said Lu. “Ours is to make the world more balanced and transparent through the Internet way of thinking.”
That thinking is behindCainiao Internet Technology Ltd., a strategic alliance between Alibaba Group and e-retailers and leading courier services. Cainiao will operate a national courier system called China Smart Logistic Network (CSN). “Today Alibaba backs Cainiao;tomorrowCainiao will fuel Alibaba’s growth,” said Lu.
Today’s press briefing with Hong Kong media marked the first public appearance for Lu sinceMay 10, when he took over the Alibaba Group helm from founder Jack Ma. While he is less involved in the day-to-day running of the company, Ma, 48, remains executive chairman and continues to help shape Alibaba Group’s business strategy and management development.
Lu was circumspect, however, about Alibaba Group’s widely-speculated IPO, revealing only that when and where to publicly list depends on the best interests of Alibaba Group and its customers. “My job is to get the company ready to go while Jack Ma decides when to press the button,” he said. Given that Alibaba is in the enviable position of being cash-rich, Lu said the company had no reason to rush.
Lu said, “My focus is on keeping our customers happy, our business healthy and doing more for the future, not on the IPO.”He expressed confidence that Alibaba Group would continue to execute strategies that have made it one of theworld’s largest e-commerce companieswhose services are used daily by millions of Chinese.
As the Group’s former chief data officer, Lu knows better than anyone that Alibaba Group’s database of its hundreds of millions of users is perhaps the Group’s most valuable asset. He pledged that data would remain a bedrock of the company.
In more than a decade with Alibaba Group, Lu, 43, has led three of its major divisions: Taobao, the company’s dominant online shopping platform; Alibaba.com, a global online wholesale market; and Alipay, China’s leading third-party online payments provider. Prior to being named CEO, he was responsible for crucial Alibaba Group development efforts in emerging Big Data businesses and also had oversight over the company’s cloud-based mobile phone OS, Alibaba Mobile Operating System.
Lu, a former hotel concierge who went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration from China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, joined Alibaba Group in 2000 when the company purchased Lu’s Internet start-up, a Web-based fax service.