Alibaba’s Jack Ma Steps Down as President of General Association of Zhejiang Entrepreneurs

According to the official social media account of Zhejiang Entrepreneurs Magazine, the second board meeting of the General Association of Zhejiang Entrepreneurs ended on December 7. At this time, Alibaba founder Jack Ma stepped down as president of the organization, although he will continue to serve as a consultant. Nan Cunhui, the chairman of Chint Group, a leading Chinese photovoltaics company, has been elected as the new president of the organization.

The General Association of Zhejiang Entrepreneurs, established in October 2015, is a non-profit and joint social organization with entrepreneurs in Zhejiang Province as the main body. Up to now, it has developed nearly 600 directors and 22 group members all over the world. Jack Ma has been the president of the association for seven years. When he was elected, Alibaba was listed on the NYSE for only one year. The total number of active buyers of e-commerce platforms Tmall and Taobao was 350 million, more than half of the total number of web users in China at that time. However, mobile payment had not entered its outbreak period yet, and mobile phones had not replaced physical wallets in China.

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According to data from the Zhejiang Provincial Market Supervision Bureau, as of the end of December 2021, there were 8,684,700 market entities in Zhejiang. During the same period, the resident population of Zhejiang Province was 65.4 million. Therefore, in Zhejiang, one out of every 7.5 people establishes their own business.

It is worth mentioning that on December 6, a topic entitled “Zhejiang will organize 10,000 enterprises to go abroad to participate in economic and trade activities” attracted extensive discussion on domestic social media platforms. On December 3, Zhejiang Province launched a program named “Tens of thousands of Zhejiang enterprises expand global markets to grab orders.” On December 4, a team of foreign trade enterprises led by the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Commerce set off for a six-day journey to Germany and France. This team is the first group led on a foreign trip by the Zhejiang Provincial Commerce Department since the outbreak of COVID-19.

On December 7, Chinese media outlet Time News called the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Commerce. One staff member responded, “This activity is mainly to release a signal. With the optimization of pandemic prevention and control measures, it is time for people to explore overseas markets, and they should not be afraid of anything.”

In fact, this is not the first time that Zhejiang has organized a business group to go abroad. The same staff member said, “Before the pandemic, our business department held exhibitions overseas every year. At that time, we led enterprises to go abroad dozens of times a year. After the outbreak of the pandemic, such overseas activities went online, such as video conferences or online exhibitions, but the effect was not as good as offline ones and the negotiations were not sufficient.”

The staff member pointed out that this kind of activity is actually a normal operation. “This time, more than 30 people joined the activity without chartered flights. It is actually a relatively ordinary activity for us. We didn’t expect to receive so much attention.”

Zhejiang’s “going global” action is directly reflected in the transcripts of imports and exports trade. Since June this year, the growth rate of China’s total import and export value has continuously slowed down. On December 7, the latest import and export trade data released by China’s General Administration of Customs showed that the growth rate of import and export continued to slow down in November. In November, the total value of China’s imports and exports was 3.7 trillion yuan ($530 billion), a slight increase of 0.1% year-on-year. The growth rate slowed down sharply from 6.9% in October, hitting a new low since May this year. Among them, exports were 2.1 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 0.9%. Imports reached 1.6 trillion yuan, down 1.1%.

In this context, the import and export growth recorded by Zhejiang Province is still relatively stable.