CTO of Alibaba’s Overseas E-Commerce Operations Leaves Firm

Tang Xing, the CTO of Alibaba‘s overseas e-commerce operations and the general manager of AliExpress Basic Platform Center, has left the firm, domestic media outlet China Entrepreneur reported on September 2. According to sources close to Tang, the executive has departed for personal reasons, and he might start a new business in the future.

Tang Xing graduated from the University of Science & Technology of China with a doctorate in mathematics and a second bachelor’s degree in economic management. He used to be the technical director of the Google Shanghai R&D Center, and was fully responsible for Google’s video search business, also participating in the R&D of YouTube’s video search service. In March 2012, he became the CTO of iQIYI, a Chinese video streaming platform, responsible for technical products.

Tang joined Alibaba in August 2019, fully responsible for the products and technologies of Taobao-related business (Taobao is a leading Chinese online shopping platform). Around the end of 2021, Tang, as the CTO of Alibaba‘s overseas e-commerce operations, and Jiang Fan, President of Alibaba‘s overseas e-commerce operations, were jointly responsible for expanding overseas business.

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However, in July, news emerged on Chinese career and social-networking platform Maimai that Tang Xing had left the job. Subsequently, Wang Yu, an executive responsible for marketing at Alibaba, refuted the rumor and called it “false news.” Only one month later, it was confirmed by many Alibaba insiders that Tang Xiang had indeed left the company. Regarding the matter, China Entrepreneur contacted Tang Xing, although he said he would give further comments.

In August, Jiang Fan not only saw the departure of Tang Xing, but has also faced more severe challenges. According to the latest financial report released by Alibaba, there was no obvious growth in the firm’s overseas business.

On August 4, 2022, Alibaba released its financial reports for the first quarter of fiscal year 2023 and fiscal year 2022 ending June 30, 2022. In June, the revenue of the firm’s international business division increased by 2% year-on-year to 15.5 billion yuan ($2.25 billion). Among them, revenue from international retail business decreased by 3% to 10.5 billion yuan, while the revenue of AliExpress and Trendyol decreased, which was offset by the positive growth of Lazada’s revenue. Revenue of Alibaba.com, an international wholesale business platform, increased by 12% to 4.9 billion yuan. This was mainly due to a 16% increase in the transaction volume completed by Alibaba.com, which led to the revenue growth of cross-border related value-added services.

Jiang Fan
Jiang Fan (Source: Alibaba)

Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang expressed his expectations for overseas business in an internal letter when Jiang Fan was transferred to become President of Alibaba‘s overseas e-commerce operations, writing: “In the past few years, Alibaba‘s overseas e-commerce has grown rapidly, but it is far from becoming a truly global company and making greater achievements in overseas markets with broad potential. We still have a long way to go. To this end, we need to form an overall strategic blueprint and organization for overseas markets, and move forward firmly.” However, in the eight months since Jiang Fan took over as President, the firm’s international business has not yet seen great growth.