Alibaba says will split into 6 groups, separate IPOs expected

Alibaba announced Tuesday that it would split into six business groups in one of the most significant overhauls of a leading Chinese tech firm to date.

Daniel Zhang, the company’s chairman and CEO, said the restructuring would enable each separate business to pursue its own fundraising and public listing plans.

Hangzhou-based Alibaba said the moves were intended to “unlock shareholder value and foster market competitiveness”.

Under the new arrangement, each of the six newly established units will be managed by its own CEO and board of directors.

A key exception to the restructuring is Taobao Tmall Commerce Group — the operator of one of China’s top online purchasing platforms — which will remain wholly owned by Alibaba Group.

Recent years have seen the internet giant face unprecedented headwinds as Beijing has imposed tighter restrictions on the domestic tech industry.

Combined revenue at China’s internet companies shrank by just over one percent to 1.46 trillion yuan ($212 billion) in 2022, the first contraction in almost a decade, according to data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma has kept a low profile since late 2020, when a speech he made attacking Chinese regulators was followed by Beijing pulling the plug on Alibaba affiliate Ant Group’s planned IPO.

Ma has been spotted around the world over the past two years, but made a rare public appearance in China on Monday after his fall from grace. — Agence France-Presse