Daniel Zhang will take his place in September 2019, but Ma said he will still be happy to discuss the company as a partner in the Alibaba Partnership, after stepping down.
“I am very proud of and grateful for what Alibaba has achieved over the past 19 years. Because we established unique systems to ensure talent development and preservation of Alibaba’s culture and values, we now have a leadership team that is ready for the future. Daniel Zhang will lead a team of young, talented people with outstanding business acumen and leadership qualities so that Alibaba will continue to bring positive impact to the world,” Ma said in the letter on Alizila, the e-commerce giant’s magazine website.
Ma is set to make a return to education, having trained as a teacher its an area he is passionate about. He also plans to focus on philanthropy and the environment in the future. He said that the Chinese e-commerce platform will still continue its sustainability advocacies and continue its mission to “make it easy to do business anywhere.”
“We will take one step at a time for this ideal, by the year 2036, we aim to serve 2 billion global consumers, empower 10 million profitable businesses and create 100 million jobs,” said Ma.
Alibaba ventures into AI in FMCG and retail
Ma also referenced plans for further innovation using technology, experience and resources to establish and improve a global trade system for the future.
“Nine years ago, Alibaba made a commitment to the development of proprietary Internet and data technology. Since then, we have truly transformed into a technology company. Our strategic focus in data science, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things have laid the foundation for us to effect revolutionary change,” added Ma on technology in his letter.
CNBC reported on Tuesday that a Chinese logistics firm majority-owned by Alibaba has opened a warehouse with over 700 robots as the Singles Day or also known as the 11.11. Shopping Festival in November 11. The logistics company, Cainiao, runs warehouses and works with delivery companies to get packages to customers. It said it uses technology to make the process more efficient and its publicly stated goal is to eventually deliver to anyone in China within 24 hours and internationally in 72 hours.
Ben Wang, vice president of Cainiao, told CNBC that the Wuxi facility is the “largest automated warehouse in China,” adding that the company is focusing on automating more processes.
Apart from focusing on the retail industry, Alibaba has also made major investments in the FMCG sector. It also uses AI technology on its Hema supermarkets and its robotic restaurant in China.
Zhang also wrote in the letter that Sun Art will complete the digital upgrade of Alibaba’s RT-Mart stores in China by the end of 2018. It currently operates 77 Hema supermarkets in China.
“After fully acquiring Ele.me in May 2018, we strengthened our on-demand delivery network as well as established a leading company through the combination of Ele.me and Koubei to tap the enormous potential of the local services sector,” added Zhang in a letter from Alizilla.