Alibaba undergoes organizational overhaul

Chinese online giant Alibaba Group shakes up its business units to boost internal efficiencies, amid continued speculation over an impending public listing.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group said it will revamp its structure to improve organizational efficiency and sharing of resources, amid continuing speculation it is gearing up for a public listing by 2015.

China Daily reported Tuesday that Alibaba's six subsidiaries will become seven major business groups: online marketplaces Taobao.com, Tmall.com, and Juhuasuan.com; e-commerce search engine Etao.com; cloud computing service AliCloud; and the China Business and International Core Business units of business-to-business (B2B) site Alibaba.com.

Presidents of the seven units will report directly to Alibaba Chairman and CEO Jack Ma, it added.

In his e-mail to employees, Ma said: "We must accelerate the implementation of the 'one company' strategy and effectively integrate the China business unit with Taobao marketplace so as to truly create a mechanism for openness, synergy and sharing."

The "one company" strategy was conceived this year as Alibaba found it difficult to have distinct business arms working together while maintaining overall control, the report noted.

The CEO previously highlighted the challenge of managing the company's rapid growth in a Wall Street Journal interview in June, saying: "We don't have any experience. We don't know how to organize."

Better management aside, industry watchers told China Daily that Alibaba's reorganization was also to gear up for its eventual public listing.

The group has been looking to launch its initial public offer by end-December 2015, the report said. This after it delisted Alibaba.com from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in June, and struck an agreement earlier in May to buy back 20 percent of its shares from Yahoo.

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