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Retirement of Alibaba's Ma won't inhibit giant's investment strategy in India: analyst

2018/9/14 10:04:13   source:Global Times

The successor of Alibaba Group's founder Jack Ma Yun will not make big adjustments to the company's strategy in the Indian market after he takes over next year, but developments are yet to be seen, said an industry analyst.

The comment came after Indian media questioned whether Ma's "big plans" in the country will be inherited and carried out well by his successor.

The Free Press Journal on Sunday expressed concerns over Ma's retirement by analyzing Alibaba's current investment plan in India. The company on Monday officially released the succession plan including the announcement of Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang Yong's appointment as the new executive chairman beginning September 10, 2019.

"When it came to India, Ma always had big plans," the report said, listing Alibaba's diversified portfolio in India including investments in digital payment platform Paytm, cloud computing via Alibaba Cloud and the digital media space via UCWeb as well as several other innovative initiatives.

The company's investment strategy is not likely to undergo significant changes, Zhao Gancheng, director of the South Asia Studies Department at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies who has visited India many times, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"It is because Alibaba's leadership regime is not based on Ma's personal charisma. The company has a set of collective decision-making mechanisms. It's an open corporation operated by a group of responsible partners," Zhao noted. "And India is generally keen on Chinese investment too."

Ma's instructions to his successor must be focused on Indian technology domains, the report said, noting that Alibaba is also increasing its footprint in the government sector.

The Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) signed a memorandum of understanding with Alibaba Cloud on September 3.

"The Indian market has inestimable potential, but it's still hard to turn it into reality," Zhao said. "The country's business environment, laws and regulations are fairly complicated. I hope the company can make market-driven decisions there," he added.

"The developments of Alibaba's plan in India are yet to be seen," Zhao said, noting that "online payment businesses can be sensitive, because they concern national security."

The report also mentioned Ma's meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 and their discussion about ways to empower small businesses in the country.

"Zhang's media exposure is comparatively limited. Because of this, the implementation of Alibaba's plan in India is expected to be affected," Zhao estimated.

Newspaper headline: Ma’s retirement won’t inhibit Alibaba in India

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