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Alibaba’s ex-CEO Jonathan Lu retires: a 16-year timeline of Alibaba

Jack Ma on the left, Jonathan Lu on the right (photo from News.zol.com.cn)

Alibaba Group announced on Monday the retirement of its 47-year old VP Lu Zhaoxi (Jonathan Lu), who will be succeeded by the 43-year old Jing Xiandong (Eric Jing), current president of the Alibaba-backed online payment services provider Ant Financial. The change will be put in place from September 1st.

According to the “Alibaba Partnership” retirement system that was established in 2009, if an Alibaba partner’s sum of age and tenure is bigger than 60, s/he could become Alibaba’s honorary partner. Lu joined Alibaba in 2000, and is 47 years old, making him eligible for the honorary partner title.

Alibaba now has 32 partners in total, 80% of whom were born after the 1970s. With the retirement of Lu and the joining of Jing, the board of Alibaba has been kept to 11 members.

Lu joined Alibaba almost right after it was founded in 1999, and has witnessed the ups and downs of the company, China’s largest ecommerce services provider. He was there in the glorious moment when Alibaba listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, as well as the crisis in 2015, when Alibaba and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) of China were in a dispute over solutions to the problem of allegedly fake products sold online.

The events that Lu experienced during his tenure at Alibaba paints a history of the company itself:

2004 – Alibaba set up Alipay, which became China’s biggest third-party online payment platform, charging zero transaction fees. Lu was fundamental to the setting up of Alipay, taking up in 2004 the positions of Alibaba VP and president of Alipay until March of 2008.

2010 Jan. – 2011 Jun. , Lu was responsible as the CEO of Taobao, the largest online shopping website in China, established in 2003.

2011 Feb., Lu was appointed as the CEO of Alibaba.com.

2012 Jul. , Lu was appointed as the chief data officer in charge of Alibaba’s strategy of building a data sharing platform.

2013 Mar., Lu officially took the position of Alibaba Group CEO from Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba.

2013 Apr., Alibaba invested in Sina Weibo, which now has over 236 million monthly active users, according to Sina.

2013 May., Cainiao, the Alibaba-backed company specialized in logistics was founded. Cainiao now has over 90,000 delivery routes, and is able to deal with four million orders daily. It covers 2,800 cities and counties in China as well as 224 countries and regions worldwide.

2013 Jun., Yuebao, Alibaba’s fund management platform, went online. It now has over 295 million users and has made a total profit of about RMB 57.3 billion (USD 8.64 billion) over the past three years.

2013 Sep., Lu helped introduce Alibaba’s own chat app, Laiwang.

2014 Feb., Tmall Global, the international version of Tmall, went online. In the same month, Alibaba acquired map services provider AMAP.

2014 Mar., Alibaba became a major shareholder of ChinaVision Media, who is later known as Alibaba Pictures.

2014 Apr., Alibaba and Yunfeng Capital spent USD 1.22 billion for shares of Youku Tudou. In June, Alibaba acquired UCWeb, maker of China’s popular mobile browser.

2015 May, Lu became VP of Alibaba’s board of directors, and stepped down as CEO of Alibaba Group.

And from this September, Lu will retire and become an Alibaba honorary partner.

(Top photo from News.zol.com.cn)

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