Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma’s retirement plan has sparked heated discussions in China about the future of the e-commerce giant, with some experts saying that its long-term performance will be determined by China’s economic fundamentals, official media reported on Wednesday.
On Monday, Ma named the company’s Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang as his successor who would take charge in September next year, while he would continue to be company’s Director. Ma’s move became one of the hottest discussed topics on China’s Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like service, on Monday.
Many wished Ma, 54, the best for his new focus, which would be teaching, state-run Global Times reported on Wednesday. Li Chengdong, an independent analyst, said that when it comes to listed companies, investors will take the departure of a chairman or founder as bad news, and the company’s stock performance is a reflection of such sentiment.
“The departure of the face and voice of a company is seen by investors as a blow to the company,” Li told the daily. Zheng Chunhui, another independent IT observer, said the concerns over management and the company’s development are generally unnecessary.
“The transition should be smooth and the many business fields into which Alibaba has expanded, such as finance, logistics and cloud service, should have time to mature. Asking that they be profitable now is too harsh a demand,” Zheng said. Eventually, these sectors will become profitable. The company’s long-term performance will be determined by China’s economic fundamentals, Li said.