Alibaba announces strategic plan for 'smart Internet' trend

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People walk past a logo of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, March 21, 2016. [Photo / Xinhua]

Alibaba on Monday announced a broad restructuring plan, involving its major sections such as cloud technology and Tmall, to foster future growth and to upgrade its internal structure to embrace the smart Internet trend.

The e-commerce giant will set up the "Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Business Group" based on existing Alibaba Cloud businesses, headed by chief technology officer Zhang Jianfeng, to enhance artificial intelligence capabilities and new technology adoption across various industry groups.

Alibaba Cloud was set up in September 2009 and has been offering solutions for industrial clients to enhance operation efficiency as well as offering urban management authorities smart transportation schemes.

The new Tmall business division will include the Tmall business group and the fast-growing Tmall Import-Export business unit, as well as the online grocery unit Tmall Supermarket business group, to be headed by Tmall business group president Jing Jie. 

"We must be continuously upgrading the design and capability of our organization to build a strong foundation and strong bench of leadership for the next five to ten years facing future business trends," Alibaba Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang said in a letter to employees on Monday. 

"We have to be relentless in our forward thinking in order to realize our mission of 'making it easy to do business in the digital era' and empowering merchants through our Alibaba operating system," he added.  

By combining its online and offline capabilities, as well as through partnerships with retail, finance and logistics, the e-commerce giant seeks to stay at the heart off a digital economy that touches upon people's everyday lives.

Tmall will stay focused on helping the digital transformation of both online and offline brands and bringing offline retailing partners, such as department stores and supermarkets, closer in order to push forward an integrated retail business model.

A new retail technology business group will also be built up within Alibaba to combine technology capabilities in online retailing and wholesale business to help transform the next generation of both online and offline retail infrastructure.

Fan Luyuan, president of Alibaba's film making subsidiary Alibaba Pictures, will act as rotating President of Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment business group. Alibaba's AI lab will become a part of the Alibaba Group Innovation Initiatives business group.

Tencent also announced a strategic organizational upgrade last month aiming at driving the convergence of social, content and technology trends.

It established the Cloud & Smart Industries Group (CSIG) to integrate Tencent's cloud computing business and enterprise-facing services, and to catch up with rival Alibaba Group Holding, which is the leading player in China for cloud computing services.

The new business strategy aims to reinforce Tencent's investment in cutting-edge technologies as well as bring together artificial intelligence and cloud development functions within various parts of the business to maximize efficiency.

As Internet adoption and online shopping among individual consumers reaches a mature level in developed Chinese cities, Internet companies are eyeing future growth by providing enterprise clients with smart digital solutions to help enhance business efficiency.

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