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Is Alibaba Preparing for Life after Jack Ma?

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Alibaba

On June 18, Alibaba (BABA) announced senior management changes. Maggie Wu, Alibaba’s CFO, will oversee the strategic investments unit. Wu will take over the responsibility from Joe Tsai—the executive vice chairman. Citing Alibaba’s official WeChat account, Reuters reported that Tsai “would support Wu in her expanded role.”

According to Reuters, in a statement signed by CEO Daniel Zhang, Alibaba said, “To guarantee innovation, invest in our future, Alibaba is undertaking an organizational upgrade.” Zhang is slated to become Alibaba’s chairman after co-founder Jack Ma retires in September. Ma announced his retirement last year. Reuters reported that Duncan Clark, the author of “Alibaba: The House that Jack Built,” said, “Joe is inextricably linked to Jack.” Clark also said, “As a right hand man of Jack Ma, Ma’s imminent retirement begged the question as to whether the right hand man would follow suit.”

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Life after Jack Ma

With these senior management changes, Alibaba seems to be gearing up for life after Jack Ma. Alibaba is also reportedly planning a Hong Kong listing. On June 17, the company announced a one-to-eight stock split. Alibaba will propose the stock split to shareholders at its upcoming annual general meeting, which is scheduled for July 15 in Hong Kong.

For Alibaba, 17 analysts recommended a “strong buy,” 28 recommended a “buy,” and one recommended a “sell.” Alibaba’s mean consensus target price of $216.99 represents a potential upside of 35.7% over its closing prices on June 17.

Ma has seemed wary about US-China trade relations even though some observers like Warren Buffett sounded optimistic. President Trump and President Jinping might meet at the upcoming G20 summit. However, the markets don’t really expect a miracle out of the meeting if it happens at all. Read Why Wilbur Ross Doesn’t See a Trade Deal with China at G20 Summit to learn more.

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