Jack Ma to head Alibaba's new logistics network: report

Jack Ma to head Alibaba's new logistics network: report

The outgoing CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba will focus on the group's plans to build a logistics network after stepping down later this year, reports the Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald.

Alibaba founder and CEO Jack Ma announced earlier this month that he will step down from the top job on May 10. Reports claim that he will be named chairman of a new venture called the China Smart Logistics Network, with Shen Guojun, the current chairman of Beijing-based China Yintai Holdings, likely to be appointed the project's CEO.

Investors agreed on Jan. 23 to invest 100 billion yuan (US$16 billion) in the network, which plans to be capable of delivering goods to any part of China within 24 hours, Alibaba said.

The network will reportedly include leading players in the delivery services industry such as SF Express, ZTO Express, Yunda Express, Best Express, Shentong Express and Shanghai YTO Express.

An Alibaba official told the newspaper that while the company has started drafting plans and positioning itself in the logistics business since 2011, the new venture marks the beginning of its implementation phase. The group has already secured the first plot of land in Jinhuan in eastern Zhejiang province for the building of the logistics industry park, the official added.

According to the newspaper, logistics had been the weakest link in the "three crucial flows" of e-commerce as described by Ma, with the other two being information and capital, both of which are safely covered by various Alibaba websites and its own payment and financial services.

Improving China's logistics services will also benefit the country's booming e-commerce sector. Alibaba's e-commerce websites, Taobao and TMall, have recently been generating over 12 million orders a day and reached 72 million orders on the Single's Day sales of Nov. 11 last year.

In contrast with online retailer 360 Buy, which chose to build a logistics network on its own, Alibaba has chosen to adopt a socialized logistics model that takes advantage of the distribution channels of other delivery service companies, the newspaper said.