Tech giant Alibaba announces crypto-friendly chair following Daniel Zhang stepping down

Joe Tsai, the soon-to-be former executive vice chair of China-based technology giant Alibaba, will replace Daniel Zhang as company chair.

In a June 20 announcement, Alibaba said Zhang would be stepping down as chair of the company and CEO effective Sept. 10, whereupon he will continue to serve as the chair and CEO of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Group. Tsai, through wealth manager Blue Pool Capital, has been behind investments in several crypto firms, including FTX, Polygon’s $450-million funding round in February and Web3 firm Artifact Labs.

Eddie Yongming Wu, chair of Taobao and Tmall Group, will follow Zhang as Alibaba CEO as well as replace him on the company’s board of directors. Alibaba is one of the largest companies in the world, with a market capitalization of more than $225 billion at the time of publication, following Tencent, Kweichow Moutai and ICBC among China-based firms.

“I look forward to working with Eddie to spark our next phase of growth through technology and innovation,” said Tsai.

Related: Tech giant Alibaba to roll out ChatGPT competitor AI

China has had a mixed relationship with crypto and blockchain. The country was infamous for cracking down on mining firms in 2021, prompting an exodus of companies to other jurisdictions, but it also has been pushing trials of a digital yuan through the People’s Bank of China.

Nonfungible tokens (NFTs), however, seem to operate in a regulatory gray area in China. Alibaba started an NFT marketplace for copyright trading in 2021 as well as an NFT solution under its cloud business unit — the latter was deleted without explanation shortly following its launch.

Magazine: China’s wave of ChatGPT rivals, Alibaba goes multichain: Asia Express

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