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Employee No. 004 saves Ali

Employee No. 004 saves Ali

Text | “Chinese Entrepreneur” reporter Deng Shuanglin

Editor|Li Wei

Dai Shan gave way.

Alibaba Group announced on December 20 that Dai Shan, the former CEO of Taotian Group, would be transferred to assist in the establishment of Alibaba Group Asset Management Company. Dai Shan’s position will be taken over by Alibaba Group CEO Wu Yongming.

  After this personnel change, Wu Yongming concurrently holds the No. 1 position in the two major groups of Alibaba Cloud and Taotian.It is exactly 100 days since he took over as CEO of Zhang Yong Group on September 10th.

Previously, the “1+6+N” organizational reform promoted by Zhang Yong has quietly changed. Hema, which was originally scheduled to be the first to go public, has postponed its IPO plan due to a lack of financing; Alibaba Cloud, which was originally scheduled to be independently spun off and introduced external investors , also stopped the spin-off action.

With the latest power appointment, Alibaba’s new strategic context has also emerged:Taotian and Alibaba Cloud have returned to their parent company and have become the two core strategic focuses at the moment, under the unified command of the group.continue to invest in blood transfusion; other businesses will also make strategic choices around the main business, and Ali will gradually return to the state of joint efforts from the drastic “dividing”.

Previously, Wu Yongming said in the performance conference call that in addition to core business and innovative business, other businesses must meet financial indicators and either make a profit or realize cash.

People close to Alibaba told “China Entrepreneur”: “The three businesses that are developing independently, rookie, local and overseas, will not change much.” But other businesses whose development is blocked need to worry about their own fate. .

On his 100th day in office, Wu Yongming’s iron-fisted style was finally seen by the outside world.

As the youngest “Arhat”, Wu Yongming has always kept a low profile and rarely speaks publicly even within the company. A person close to Wu Yongming revealed: “Wu’s mother (Wu Yongming) doesn’t talk much. She always speaks slowly and with a Jiangsu and Zhejiang accent.”

Born in technology, and later devoted himself to venture capital.Wu Yongming was recruited by Jack Ma to be the CEO of Alibaba, and has been considered by the outside world as a “temporary fire-fighting”.Now it seems that Wu Yongming is showing the decisiveness that a man of action should have.

Previously, people familiar with the matter revealed:“Wu Ma is very dissatisfied with the current situation of Alibaba Cloud and Taotian.”

At the end of November, Wu Yongming quickly adjusted Alibaba Cloud’s business management team and emphasized internally that “no matter how successful it was in the past, it must turn over and reset to zero.” He also picked out 1688, Xianyu, DingTalk, and Quark and designated them as ” The first batch of strategic-level innovative businesses.” It is conceivable that Taotian’s big top-down changes will come soon.

Historically, the rise and fall of empires usually followed a pattern – one generation founded the country and conquered the country, the second generation stabilized the country and the country, and the mission of the third generation was usually to turn the tide when things were going downhill.As the third-generation leader in a practical sense, Wu Yongming has almost become Ali’s last hope for revival.

Standing in the most critical time window, it can be said that Ali will succeed and lose to Wu Yongming. Its strategic thinking and judgment and its business priorities will determine Alibaba’s future destiny.

So, why was the person chosen by Jack Ma Wu Yongming?

 Ali’s brain

Jack Ma and Wu Yongming have a close relationship. The two knew each other before Ali was founded.Later, Ma Yun brought Wu Yongming, who was 11 years younger than him, with him in all three of his entrepreneurial ventures.

In 1996, Wu Yongming, who had just graduated from Zhejiang University of Technology, accidentally discovered in a newspaper that a company called “China Yellow Pages” was recruiting programmers. “This is a rare opportunity to finally be able to surf the Internet without restrictions.” Wu Yongming thought at the time.

With this idea in mind, Wu Yongming went to the interview with a floppy disk containing several small programs he had written. At that time, Wu Yongming was 21 years old and Ma Yun was 32 years old. Wu understood technology and the Internet. Although Ma Yun recruited a lot of talents, there were not many employees who knew technology. Ma Yun’s vision and vision for business also impressed Wu. The two hit it off and chatted happily, and Wu Yongming immediately decided to join the job.

In November 1997, after careful consideration, Jack Ma decided to leave China Yellow Pages and go to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation to serve as the general manager of China International E-Commerce Center Guofutong Information Technology Development Co., Ltd., mainly developing products such as the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation and the online Canton Fair.

Among the first batch of people who followed Ma Yun to go north were Wu Yongming, Zhang Ying, Sun Tongyu, Lou Wensheng and others. After getting familiar with the situation, Peng Lei, Dai Shan and others would also go to Beijing.

At that time, some employees of Yellow Pages chose to stay in Hangzhou because their families were in Jiangsu and Zhejiang. Wu Yongming was born in Tonglu, Zhejiang, and studied at Zhejiang University of Technology. He is a typical southern boy, but he resolutely followed Jack Ma to Beijing.Unconditionally support Jack Ma to start his second business venture.

The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation established Guofutong with the help of Jack Ma. At Guofutong, Wu Yongming and Zhou Yuehong program, Sun Tongyu is responsible for promotion, Lou Wensheng writes copy, Xie Shihuang manages finance, and Zhang Ying and Peng Lei do editing, administration and service. After get off work every day, everyone eats together in the shared house, like a big family.

A year later, Jack Ma decided to abandon Guofutong and returned to Hangzhou to start his third business. In February 1999, Ma Yun, Wu Yongming and 16 other people gathered together for a meeting at Ma Yun’s home in the lakeside garden. Ma Yun proposed to jointly invest in starting a company. Everyone participated in the form of shares. In the end, they pooled 500,000, and Alibaba established.At that time, Wu Yongming was employee No. 004 and Alibaba’s first programmer.

Wu Yongming’s resume in Alibaba has always been focused on technical positions. He first served as the technical director of Taobao and then became the chief technology officer of Alipay. Wu Yongming also played a key role in the research and development of mobile Taobao and Alimama. Wu Yongming later participated in the acquisition of Amap, UC Browser, Momo, Umeng and other businesses. As Alibaba Group entered the health field, Wu Yongming served as chairman of Alibaba Health for 5 years.

It can be said that Wu Yongming has accompanied Ma Yun throughout his entrepreneurial life, and almost accepted Ma Yun’s decision-making. He “hit wherever he pointed.” He is a man of action who is willing to charge into battle.

In Alibaba, Wu Yongming’s nickname is “Dongxie”, which is derived from the character Huang Yaoshi in Jin Yong’s novels. Huang Yaoshi has a rebellious personality and is arrogant and unruly. However, he respects those who are loyal, righteous and filial the most. “This is a big deal.” Wu Yongming’s personality is opposite to that of Huang Yaoshi. He is gentle, low-key and reserved, but he has the same views on “the way of great integrity”.

  When Jack Ma hires people, he undoubtedly needs to “have the courage to give each other’s back, trust each other, and support unconditionally.” Wu Yongming is the best choice.From the perspective of ability, compared with the “young boy” who only knew technology back then, Wu Yongming today is already a hexagonal warrior.

After leaving Alibaba in 2015, Wu Yongming founded Yuan? Capital to focus on early-stage startups. Star projects such as Li Auto, Daily Fresh, and Tuya Smart are all behind Yuan? Capital.

In Alibaba, it is very simple to find a talent who understands technology. There are countless talents who understand business and capital. However, if you are proficient in all three, have a keen insight into cutting-edge trends, and have grown up together with Jack Ma and Alibaba through thick and thin, I’m afraid there is only Wu Yongming.

But Wu Yongming is not Ma Yun’s shadow. A series of vigorous and resolute actions after taking office, it can be seen that Wu Yongming has ideas and ambitions. As long as the two people are in the same general direction, Ma Yun is probably willing to let him go.

Ali today,Jack Ma is the root of Ali, Tsai Chongxin is the bone, they are the soul figures, like the magic needle that fixes the sea, and Wu Yongming is the brain, with the ability to mobilize every capillary of Ali.

As Jack Ma said: “When a soldier is on the front line, he must be given sufficient ammunition. When he is out there, military orders will not be followed.”

 It’s not easy to be a CEO

It’s just that Wu Yongming is not easy to be CEO.


Source: Alibaba official website

This year alone, Alibaba has many difficulties to solve. The “1+6+N” strategy at the beginning of the year now seems to have many extremes that need to be corrected; as soon as Alibaba Cloud announced its spin-off, the AI ​​revolution came; internal conflicts have not yet been resolved.Pinduoduo’s market value has surpassed Alibaba again.Today’s Alibaba is in a state of disarray.

After Wu Yongming took office, the first thing he did was to make decisive choices and re-establish two strategic priorities: user first and AI-driven. The Group has organized its business around these two focuses and reshaped its business strategic priorities. On this basis, Alibaba has increased strategic investment in three types of businesses: 1. Technology-driven Internet platform business; 2. AI-driven technology business; 3. Global business network.

Alibaba Cloud was the first to take action.

On November 23, Alibaba Cloud made a series of organizational structure adjustments: at the commercial level, a public cloud business division was established, headed by Liu Weiguang; a hybrid cloud business division was established, headed by Li Jin. In addition to the overseas business division that was previously in charge of Yuan Qian, the heads of the three divisions all report to Wu Yongming.

Alibaba Cloud Chief Commercial Officer Cai Yinghua bid farewell to Alibaba Cloud. This is related to Alibaba Cloud’s new strategy, “AI driven, public cloud first.” Wu Yongming pointed out that AI-driven is to create the “most open cloud in the AI ​​era”, provide stable and efficient AI infrastructure for all walks of life, and jointly build an open and prosperous AI ecosystem; and public cloud priority means that all products and Make trade-offs in business models, reduce project-based sales orders, and increase investment in core public cloud products. This happens to be what Cai Yinghua, who is good at government and corporate business and can handle orders from large customers, is least good at.

The market demand brought by large models is significantly different from traditional cloud computing. For example, the demand for traditional computing power has transformed into the demand for intelligent computing power, and large model training and inference have higher technical requirements for the cloud. In the past, cloud computing business has become an infrastructure like electricity. It has been widely popularized and it is difficult to create growth myths again. The financial report shows that in the second quarter of fiscal year 2024,Alibaba Cloud’s revenue was 27.648 billion yuan, with a year-on-year growth rate of only 2%.

Large models have become a key variable for cloud vendors to win in the next stage. The core elements supporting this new story are, first, the competitiveness of technology, and second, whether competitiveness can be turned into profits. However, there are still huge unknowns in both of these points. From a global perspective, the competitiveness of China’s large models still has a lot of room to catch up, and commercial profitability is far away. Wu Yongming still has many difficulties to solve.

But in Wu Yongming’s era, it can be confirmed that AI will run through the development of Alibaba’s various businesses. According to “LatePost” report, Taotian Group has just sorted out its AI business, narrowing it from about 20 teams to 4. At the same time, Taotian’s own large-scale model product “Star” was released internally; the AI ​​team of International Digital Business Group There are currently more than 100 people.

As the organization grows larger, it is inevitable that the business will become empty. Alibaba’s business needs to continue to slim down to avoid reinventing the wheel and wasting resources.

In Wu Yongming’s strategy,Ammunition should be concentrated on the core areas.It is foreseeable that the new round of changes in Alibaba Cloud and Taotian is just the beginning of Alibaba’s adjustments.

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