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Tmall New CEO – What’s His Strategy?

Hu Xiaolai is the new CEO of Tmall, China’s largest online shopping mall. Hu joined Tmall from its largest rival JD.com in 2017, where he built a technology and operations team to support the company’s growth in China. JD.com was previously known as E-Commerce China and was founded by Jack Ma, the famous Chinese businessman and investor. It has become one of the world’s largest online shopping malls with over 1.5 billion shopping transactions per year. In October 2018, Hu signed a four-year contract to become the new CEO of Tmall. Although the post of CEO has been vacant for some time, Hu’s appointment has raised many eyebrows. In this article, we’ll take a look at how Hu’s new strategy is different from what’s been going on at the top of Tmall.

David Tan’s New Strategy

Tmall’s hiring of David Tan, a former president of eBay, has many wondering about the strategy of this upcoming company. Tan’s leadership at eBay helped it become one of the world’s largest online shopping malls, with over $25 billion in annual sales. However, Tan is known for managing companies larger than his own weight, often with complex businesses and numerous interests. Since he is now taking on a role at a much larger company, it is important to examine how he is adapting his approach to achieve Tmall’s strategic vision.

Tmall Upcoming Events

In his new role, Hu will oversee a large number of companies under one umbrella. Among them are Tmall’s core businesses Huobi and Yi Daily, as well as its upcoming investments in WePay and Ant Financial.

China’s Online Shopping Mall

With over 1.5 billion unique users each year, China’s online shopping malls now account for more than 8% of the world’s online retail market. The leading e-commerce companies in China are Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, each with their own shopping malls. The main difference is that Tmall is the only one with a heavy investment focus. Hu’s new strategy is to focus on becoming the “Amazon of China,” by means of which he hopes to become the dominant player in the country’s e-commerce landscape.

What Does a New Strategy Mean for Tmall?

For one, we can expect to see more consolidation in the retail sector as leading e-commerce companies start to spin-off their investment and investment-related businesses. This will allow them to focus on growing their core businesses more effectively. In addition, we can expect to see more interest from foreign companies in investing in the country’s e-commerce landscape. China has a long history of welcoming foreign investment, and the country’s online shopping malls continue to attract a number of strategic foreign investment funds.


In his new role as the CEO of Tmall, Hu hopes to continue the momentum Tmall has been building under David Tan. Hu believes that Huobi and other investment-focused companies will continue to be a key driver of growth for the online shopping mall, and that Yi Daily and other general merchandise businesses will continue to thrive. As for the e-commerce landscape, Hu believes that Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent will continue to lead the pack, with WePay and Ant Financial following close behind. With so much potential for growth in such a huge market, it will be interesting to see how Hu plans to scale Tmall in such an effective way.



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