Alibaba’s New Chairman ‘Likes’ Crypto

Lavina Daryanani
Source: Alibaba Seller Central

The pandemic took a toll on a host of companies. The rising inflation coupled with diminishing disposable income made customers gradually steer away from the market and paused investment. That, in turn, led to shrinking company valuations.

Well, take the case of Alibaba itself. Back in September 2014, the company made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange with its IPO. Since then, the e-commerce firm has made notable strides in the online marketplace. Not only did it expand its products and service lines, but also, notched up the companies it owned. However, the past few years have been quite rough for the company.

From its October 2020 peak of over $311, BABA shares dropped to a low of $58 in October 2022. There has been a modest recovery since then, but the stock continues to trade under $100. As of today, the company’s valuation stands at approximately $236 billion. For context, Bitcoin’s aggregate valuation is more than 2x today, i.e. $520.38 billion, while Ethereum’s valuation is around $207.8 billion.

Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. by TradingView

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Leadership change to help change Alibaba’s fate?

Now, with Alibaba evidently finding it difficult to turn tables and register growth in the post-Covid era, the company announced a surprise succession plan on Tuesday, June 20. Notably, Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai will take up the role of the Chairman, while E-Commerce Executive Eddie Yong will replace Zhang as Chief Executive Officer.

Well, there is an interesting tangent associated with Tsai. The new Chairman of Alibaba is seemingly pro-crypto. For instance, back in 2021, he explicitly tweeted, “I like crypto.”

Alibaba, Tsai, Crypto, and China

Well, Tsai is also an active Web3 investor. A recent report pointed out that the executive was been associated with Polygon’s February 2022 funding round, Web3 fantasy sports platform Fast Break Labs fundraising, and NFT platform Artifact Labs’ May 2023 round. In fact, Tsai also owns the Brooklyn Nets. Reportedly, two of its key players, Kevin Durant and Spencer Dinwiddie, are involved in crypto. Interestingly, Tsai’s Family Office, Blue Pool Capital, was also a minority stakeholder in FTX.

Well, even though Tsai might like crypto, it should be noted that China might not essentially be on the same page. In 2021, the country announced a nationwide crypto crackdown, and since then, it has been the flag-bearer of anti-crypto nations. That said, it should be noted that the region has been softening its stance of late. Exhibit: Beijing is backing Hong Kong’s vision of becoming a crypto hub.

In fact, as reported recently, officials from China’s Liaison Office have been “frequent guests” at crypto gatherings. Interestingly, their encounters have been “friendly.” Officials have also been checking on developments, asking for reports, and in some cases, making follow-up calls.

Several from the space contend that Beijing likely warming up to crypto. Now, with Tsai as the New Chairman in such a scenario, Alibaba could perhaps be prepping to hold the crypto, Web3 torch in China, if at all the prohibitions are reversed one fine day.

Also Read: China’s Capital Reportedly Backs Hong Kong’s Vision as a Crypto Hub