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Joe Tsai, soon to become executive vice president of Chinese tech giant Alibaba, will replace Daniel Zhang as the company’s chairman.
In a June 20 announcement, Alibaba said that Zhang would step down as the company’s chairman and chief executive officer effective September 10, after which he would continue as chairman and CEO of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Group. Tsai, through wealth manager Blue Pool Capital, has been behind investments in several cryptocurrency firms, including FTX, Polygon’s $450 million funding round in February, and Web3 firm Artifact Labs.
I like Crypto
— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) December 28, 2021
Eddie Yongming Wu, chairman of Taobao and Tmall Group, will replace Zhang as Alibaba’s CEO and also replace him on the company’s board of directors. Alibaba is one of the largest companies in the world with a market capitalization of over $225 billion at press time, behind Tencent, Kweichow Moutai and ICBC among Chinese firms.
“I look forward to working with Eddie to launch our next phase of growth through technology and innovation,” said Tsai.
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China has had a mixed relationship with cryptocurrency and blockchain. The country was notorious for its crackdown on mining companies in 2021, which provoked an exodus of companies to other jurisdictions, but also promoted trials of the digital yuan through the People’s Bank of China.
However, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) seem to operate in a gray area of regulation for China. Alibaba launched copyright trading in the NFT marketplace in 2021, as well as an NFT solution within its cloud business unit – the latter was removed without explanation shortly after its launch.