Alibaba taps former US Treasury official to lead international affairs

Jim Wilkinson served as chief of staff for former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, giving him government chops Alibaba could use as it expands its Internet stronghold beyond China.

Jim Wilkinson, image via PepsiCo

Just ahead of its massive U.S. IPO, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba enlisted former U.S. Treasury Department official and PepsiCo exec Jim Wilkinson to head up its office of international corporate affairs.

Wilkinson is touted to have strong government and regulatory affairs experience in key global markets worldwide. He served as chief of staff for former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson at the height of the financial crisis. Prior to his work for the Treasury, Wilkinson served as senior advisor to former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Even though Wilkinson's more recent resume accomplishments include executive positions with PepsiCo and the Brunswick Group, his government chops will assist Alibaba as it looks to expand its Internet stronghold beyond China.

Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, said in a statement:

As Alibaba extends our platform for entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world, it is important that we have the right people in place who have a track record of building bridges across geographic boundaries.

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Alibaba has been courting Wall Street heavily over the last month, making a number of moves to bolster its bottom line. It officially filed IPO paperwork last week to the tune of $1 billion. 

In addition to, the Alibaba Group includes Taobao Marketplace, China's largest online shopping destination, Tmall, a third-party platform for brands and retailers, and Juhuasuan, a group buying marketplace. 

Beyond e-commerce, Alibaba has made the leap into cloud computing with its AliCloud division. In December the unit said it would expand its cloud services beyond its domestic market, a plan confirmed with Monday's official opening of its Hong Kong data center . According to Alibaba officials, the data center will help businesses in the Greater China region and in Southeast Asia handle Internet traffic and data capacity.