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Alibaba’s Chairman, Jack Ma, Plans to Step Down

HONG KONG — The Alibaba Group said on Monday that Jack Ma would resign as chairman, unveiling a leadership succession plan for the Chinese e-commerce giant as it faces a more uncertain environment at home.Mr. Ma, who co-founded Alibaba in his apartment 19 years ago and has led it ever since, will step down as chairman a year from Monday, the company said. He will be succeeded by Daniel Zhang, currently Alibaba’s chief executive.Alibaba said the move was meant to foster long-term growth and reduce its dependence on any one person. At the same time, it took pains to stress that Mr. Ma would remain involved with…

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Alibaba’s Jack Ma, China’s Richest Man, to Retire From Company He Co-Founded

HONG KONG — Alibaba’s co-founder and executive chairman, Jack Ma, said he planned to step down from the Chinese e-commerce giant on Monday to pursue philanthropy in education, a changing of the guard for the $420 billion internet company.A former English teacher, Mr. Ma started Alibaba in 1999 and built it into one of the world’s most consequential e-commerce and digital payments companies, transforming how Chinese people shop and pay for things. That fueled his net worth to more than $40 billion, making him China’s richest man. He is revered by many Chinese, some of whom have put his portrait in their homes to worship in the…

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Alibaba Had a Bright Quarter, Despite Clouds Over China’s Economy

BEIJING — The escalating trade fight between China and the United States is making this an uneasy time for the world’s second-largest economy. Chinese stocks have slumped. The currency has gone for a ride.Serving the nation’s middle-class shoppers, however, still seems to be rollicking good business.The Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce leviathan, reported a rise in sales of more than 60 percent in the latest quarter compared with a year earlier.Profits for April to June fell by more than 40 percent, however, reflecting the effect of a large increase in the valuation of Ant Financial, an Alibaba sister company. Because Alibaba has given some employees awards based…

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The Latest Hot E-Commerce Idea in China: The Bargain Bin

BEIJING — Apple, Gucci, Tesla. Many Chinese shoppers love their top-shelf brands.But another big slice of the population goes gaga for a 40-cent pair of earrings, a $1.50 wireless smartphone charger and 50 rolls of toilet paper for $4.75.These are the shoppers on Pinduoduo, a Chinese app that drew close to 350 million customers in the past year, more than the entire population of the United States. Its parent company is expected to list shares on the Nasdaq stock exchange on Thursday, just three years into its existence.The lightning-fast ascent of Pinduoduo (pronounced a bit like “PING-daw-daw”) suggests that China is not done producing high-flying internet upstarts,…

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Investing in SoftBank Is Becoming a Bet on Its Founder’s Deal-Making Prowess

Get the DealBook newsletter to make sense of major business and policy headlines — and the power-brokers who shape them.__________For most of its existence, SoftBank was known as a Japanese phone company that made some lucky bets. But in the future, being an investor in the company will mean betting on the investment prowess of its founder, Masayoshi Son.Over the past few months, SoftBank has moved to drastically shrink itself. In April, it struck a deal to combine Sprint, which it controls, with T-Mobile, reducing its share of the embattled American carrier’s financial burden. It announced plans this week to spin out its domestic telecom business.If those…

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Worried About Big Tech? Chinese Giants Make America’s Look Tame

Those lives are riper for tech disruption than lives in the West. In China, small stores dominate retail. Hospitals are crowded and doctors overworked. Most people do not have credit cards. These are easier business opportunities for Alibaba and Tencent than they would be for Amazon or Facebook.In a report this week, Morgan Stanley predicted that by 2027, the total market in China in which Alibaba could be making money will be worth $19 trillion — more than Amazon’s potential market worldwide.At the moment, both Chinese giants are hustling to find more ways for people to transact using their wallet and not the other’s. Alibaba’s shopping sites…

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Alibaba’s Profit Slips as It Spends to Expand Its Empire

In March, Alibaba poured an additional $2 billion into its Southeast Asian online emporium, Lazada, which is duking it out with Amazon in the region. Back at home in China, the company is investing heavily in its entertainment and cloud services businesses, both of which lose money. And it is rapidly expanding its footprint in physical retail, to collect more different kinds of data about customers’ habits and desires.But compared with being an online middleman, running stores in the real world is costly and complex. Hema, the company’s chain of high-tech supermarkets, now has dozens of stores across China, a large chunk of which opened in the…

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Tech Giants Feel the Squeeze as Xi Jinping Tightens His Grip

For China’s tech giants, working with Beijing has become more important for another reason: Mr. Xi has tightened China’s controls on the internet, and moved with remarkable force against companies that step out of line.Sina Weibo, a service that resembles Twitter, lost some of its appeal as a raucous forum amid a coordinated crackdown early in Mr. Xi’s tenure on what regulators called rumor-mongering. Last month, regulators clamped down on Bytedance, one of China’s most successful start-ups, shutting down its humor app and ordering it to clean up “vulgar” content on several of its other apps.As a result, tech potentates are trying harder than ever to keep…

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Xi Tightens His Grip, and China’s Tech Giants Feel the Squeeze

For China’s tech giants, working with Beijing has become more important for another reason: Mr. Xi has tightened China’s controls on the internet, and moved with remarkable force against companies that step out of line.Sina Weibo, a service that resembles Twitter, lost some of its appeal as a raucous forum amid a coordinated crackdown early in Mr. Xi’s tenure on what regulators called rumor-mongering. Last month, regulators clamped down on Bytedance, one of China’s most successful start-ups, shutting down its humor app and ordering it to clean up “vulgar” content on several of its other apps.As a result, tech potentates are trying harder than ever to keep…

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