The news that Fan Chi, a vice president at Alibaba for 11 years, has left Alibaba, less than a year after he was transferred to Ali Entertainment to specialize in OTT (online video streaming) and sports business, has been released recently. Recently, a number of Alibaba executives have been leaving one after another, especially Ali Entertainment, which has been the “hardest hit” by the wave of departures, raising suspicions.
The Chinese mainland media Tech Planet 12 broke the news that Fan Chi, who was CEO of Alipay Koubei, left the company on the first of this month, and Ali Sports’ public relations department has confirmed the news is true. According to the report, Ali Sports is currently under the responsibility of Yang Mu, the company’s chief operating officer.
Fan Chi has been with Alibaba Group for nearly 11 years, and has been responsible for Alipay’s Quick Pay, Wireless Pay and Alipay App branding, marketing director, operations and product work, making him an “old man” at Ali. He was transferred to Ali Entertainment in June last year and is responsible for OTT and sports business, reporting directly to Alibaba partner and Ali Entertainment president Fan Luyuan (nicknamed Mu Huali).
Outsiders note that in March, Ali Music director Gao Xiaosong just announced he was stepping down, ending his six years of top management in the large entertainment system; in the same month, Hu also announced he was resigning from his position as CEO of Ant Group, as well as from several of its companies; and on April 12, Alibaba Entertainment Youku vice president Zheng Wei announced his departure. Zheng Wei was at the rank of P10 in Ali and was reporting directly to Ali DaWen Entertainment CPO as well as Chang Yang (fancy name Lawrence Liu), who was in charge of Ali Group’s Beijing business HR system.
In fact, since Alibaba’s Ant Group’s IPO was urgently halted by Beijing authorities earlier this year, Ant Group has been mandated by the authorities to “rectify” the situation, and Alibaba itself was soon accused of violating the “anti-monopoly law” and was fined heavily by regulators. On January 21, news broke that Ant’s largest external shareholder, the Social Security Fund, might increase its stake in Ali, while Yin Ming, the vice president in charge of Ant’s insurance business, was also confirmed to have left to return to the financial and insurance industry as general manager of Sunshine General Insurance. This could be considered the beginning of a wave of departures for Alibaba and its Ant Group in the context of a “bad year”.
Now, within the last two months, a number of executives have left Ali one after another, causing curiosity and speculation, so much so that some Chinese netizens have posted on online social media lamenting that “Dafenvoo is Ali’s black hole, sucking away so many executives and junior soldiers.” One netizen left a message exclaiming, “Is there any particularly bad omen emerging? Executives are eager to jump ship?!”