The group from East China’s Hangzhou is one of the most important technology companies in the country. He is active in various areas such as cloud applications, online trade, logistics and media. According to Zhang, as part of the restructuring, each of the six newly founded units will have its own boss and board of directors.

A key exception is Taobao Tmall Commerce Group, which operates one of China’s leading online shopping platforms: it remains fully owned by Alibaba Group, which Zhang will continue to lead.

In recent years, Alibaba has suffered from the fact that the Chinese government has put the entire tech industry on a tighter leash with ever new rules, fines and intimidation. Revenue at China’s internet company shrank by a little more than 1 percent to 1.46 trillion yuan ($180 billion) last year, the first drop in nearly a decade, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Alibaba’s financial arm, Ant Group, was the first major online company to be cracked down on by Chinese authorities in 2020, blocking its planned IPO. Alibaba founder Jack Ma had previously publicly criticized the financial regulators. Since then, Ma has hardly appeared in public – but on Monday he was surprisingly spotted in China.