- Alibaba needs to be “user first” and “AI-driven,” new CEO Eddie Wu told employees on Tuesday.
- Wu said there is a need to invest in artificial intelligence.
- Alibaba’s cloud unit has sought to position itself as a leader in AI in China as it looks to grow the business again.
- “If we don’t keep up with the changes in the AI age, we will be displaced,” Wu said.
Signage at the Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. booth at the Smart China Expo in Chongqing, China, on Monday, Sept. 4, 2023.
Kilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Alibaba needs to be “user first” and “AI-driven”, new CEO Eddie Wu told employees on Tuesday, as he laid out strategic priorities for the Chinese tech giant.
Wu, just three days into his job as Alibaba’s chief executive, urged the e-commerce giant to “adopt a start-up mentality” as he tries to steer the company back to growth during one of its most turbulent times. 24 years of history.
“Times are changing, and so must Alibaba! As the world progresses, Alibaba needs to evolve even faster!” Wu said in a letter to employees seen by CNBC.
Wu, one of Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s closest confidants, started as CEO on September 10, taking over from Daniel Zhang, who stepped down from the role to focus on leading the cloud computing business. However, in a surprise move, Zhang stepped down as CEO of the cloud business this week and Wu took over in the interim.
It comes months after Alibaba split its company into six different business groups, the biggest change in its history.
Wu said Alibaba’s two main strategic focuses will be “user first” and “AI-driven”. The company will “strengthen” its strategic investments in three areas.
The first called it a “technology-driven Internet platform”. Wu said Alibaba’s business should “seek the most open and cooperative relationship” even with competitors. This is a different approach from Alibaba which has tried to keep users in its ecosystem of products.
Wu also expressed the need to invest in artificial intelligence. Alibaba’s cloud unit has sought to position itself as a leader in AI in China as it looks to grow the business again.
“Each of our businesses generates a large number of use cases; therefore, we must transform these use cases into AI technology applications, driving successful user experiences and business models through technology innovation,” Wu said.
“If we don’t keep up with the changes in the AI age, we’ll be displaced.”
Alibaba Cloud has a large language model called Tongi Qianwen, which was released earlier this year. LLM is an AI model trained on large amounts of data and underpins chatbot applications. This is the same type of model that OpenAI’s ChatGPT is based on.
Wu also said Alibaba needs to invest in “globalization.”
Alibaba will also strive to promote young talent. Over the next four years, the company will promote those born after 1985 and the 1990s “to form the core of our business management teams,” Wu said.