“Eddie Wu’s appointment as CEO shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. He co-founded Alibaba and played a key role on both the technology development and monetization of Taobao and Alipay,” Jacob Cooke, CEO of WPIC, an e-commerce tech and marketing firm that helps foreign brands sell in China, told CNBC.
“His elevation to CEO of the group is a natural transition and signals the unswerving importance of e-commerce in the company’s roadmap,” Cooke added.
Separate from his Alibaba activity, Tsai is also an owner of the Brooklyn Nets basketball team in the U.S. and is often seen as a more international-facing executive.
“The appointment of the internationally-focused Tsai as chairman aligns perfectly with the outward-looking strategy that Alibaba has recently adopted, with big investments in Lazada and the recently-announced plans to open a local version of Tmall in Europe,” Cooke said.