Beijing, Sep 10 (AP/UNB) — Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma, who helped launch China's online retailing boom, stepped down as chairman of the world's biggest e-commerce company Tuesday at a time when its fast-changing industry faces uncertainty amid a U.S.-Chinese tariff war.
Ma, one of China's wealthiest and best-known entrepreneurs, gave up his post on his 55th birthday as part of a succession announced a year ago. He will stay on as a member of the Alibaba Partnership, a 36-member group with the right to nominate a majority of the company's board of directors.
Ma, a former English teacher, founded Alibaba in 1999 to connect Chinese exporters to American retailers.
The company has shifted focus to serving China's growing consumer market and expanded into online banking, entertainment and cloud computing. Domestic businesses accounted for 66% of its $16.7 billion in revenue in the quarter ending in June.
Chinese retailing faces uncertainty amid a tariff war that has raised the cost of U.S. imports.
Growth in online sales decelerated to 17.8% in the first half of 2019 amid slowing Chinese economic growth, down from 2018's full-year rate of 23.9%.
Alibaba says its revenue rose 42% over a year earlier in the quarter ending in June to $16.7 billion and profit rose 145% to $3.1 billion. Still, that was off slightly from 2018's full-year revenue growth of 51%.
The total amount of goods sold across Alibaba's e-commerce platforms rose 25% last year to $853 billion. By comparison, the biggest U.S. e-commerce company, Amazon.com Inc., reported total sales of $277 billion.
Alibaba's deputy chairman, Joe Tsai, told reporters in May the company is "on the right side" of issues in U.S.-Chinese trade talks. Tsai said Alibaba stands to benefit from Beijing's promise to increase imports and a growing consumer market.
Alibaba is one of a group of companies including Tencent Holding Ltd., a games and social media giant, search engine Baidu.com Inc. and e-commerce rival JD.com that have revolutionized shopping, entertainment and consumer services in China.
Alibaba was founded at a time when few Chinese were online. As internet use spread, the company expanded into consumer-focused retailing and services. Few Chinese used credit cards, so Alibaba created the Alipay online payments system.
Ma, known in Chinese as Ma Yun, appears regularly on television. At an annual Alibaba employee festival in Hanzhou, he has sung pop songs in costumes that have included blond wigs and leather jackets. He pokes fun at his own appearance, saying his oversize head and angular features make him look like the alien in director Steven Spielberg's movie "E.T. The Extraterrestrial."
The company's $25 billion initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2014 was the biggest to date by a Chinese company.
The Hurun Report, which follows China's wealth, estimates Ma's fortune at $38 billion.
In 2015, Ma bought the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's biggest English-language newspaper.
Ma's successor as chairman is CEO Daniel Zhang, a former accountant and 12-year veteran of Alibaba. He previously was president of its consumer-focused Tmall.com business unit.
Alibaba's e-commerce business spans platforms including business-to-business Alibaba.com, which links foreign buyers with Chinese suppliers of goods from furniture to medical technology, and Tmall, with online shops for popular brands.
Alipay became a freestanding financial company, Ant Financial, in 2014. Alibaba also set up its own film studio and invested in logistics and delivery services.
Ma faced controversy when it disclosed in 2011 that Alibaba transferred control over Alipay to a company he controlled without immediately informing shareholders including Yahoo Inc. and Japan's Softback.
Alibaba said the move was required to comply with Chinese regulations, but some financial analysts said the company was paid too little for a valuable asset. The dispute was later resolved by Alibaba, Yahoo and Softbank.
Corporate governance specialists have questioned the Alibaba Partnership, which gives Ma and a group of executives more control over the company than shareholders.
Ma has said that ensures Alibaba focuses on long-term development instead of responding to pressure from financial markets.
Yokohama, Sep 9 (AP/UNB) — Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa tendered his resignation Monday after acknowledging that he had received dubious income and vowed to pass the leadership of the Japanese automaker to a new generation.
Board member Yasushi Kimura told reporters at an evening news conference at company headquarters in Yokohama that the board has approved Saikawa's resignation, effective Sept. 16, and a successor will be appointed next month. A search is underway, he added.
Calls for Saikawa's resignation, which arose after the arrest last year of his predecessor, Carlos Ghosn, on various financial misconduct allegations, have grown louder after Saikawa acknowledged last week that he had received dubious payments.
The income was linked to the stock price of Nissan Motor Co., and he has said his pay got inflated by illicitly adjusting the date for cashing in.
The automaker's board met to look into the allegations against Saikawa, as well as other issues related to Ghosn's allegations and corporate ethics at the company.
Kimura said the income Saikawa had received was confirmed as "not illegal."
Ghosn, who is out on bail and awaiting trial, says he's innocent.
Kimura and three other board members, who all have backgrounds outside the company, said their investigation of the scandal over Ghosn's arrest found that alleged misconduct by Ghosn and Greg Kelly, a former board member who was also arrested, had caused 35 billion yen ($350 million) in damage to the company.
Nissan will seek a repayment of the damages, Kimura said.
The board said about 10 candidates are being considered as a replacement for Saikawa. They did not identify them, but said outsiders and non-Japanese are on the list. Until a successor is decided, Chief Operating Officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi will serve as interim chief, the board said.
Saikawa has not been charged.
"I have been trying to do what needs to be done so that I can pass the baton over as soon as possible," he told reporters earlier in the day, referring to his willingness to leave his job.
Saikawa did not appear at the news conference initially, but the four board members who led the event said he would later.
Saikawa has said he didn't know about the improprieties, promised to return the money and blamed the system he said Ghosn had created at Nissan for the dubious payments.
Japanese media reports said Saikawa had received tens of millions of yen (hundreds of thousands of dollars) in extra compensation.
Ghosn has been charged with falsifying documents on deferred compensation, which means he did not receive any of the money.
Nissan's profits and sales have tumbled over the past year. Investors are also worried about Nissan's relationship with alliance partner Renault SA of France, which owns 43% of Nissan. Ghosn was sent in by Renault to lead Nissan two decades ago.
Dhaka, Sep 9 (UNB)- The 39th general meeting of central sharia board of Islamic Banks of Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) was held at Islami Bank Tower on Monday.
Discussion on importance of Sharia compliance in banking operations was held and audited report and annual plan of actions were approved in the meeting.
Representatives from 22 member institutions also participated in the meeting.
The meeting was presided over by Sayed Kamaluddin Jafree, Chairman of the Board, where Shah Abdul Hannan, Advisor, M Azizul Huq, Chairman of CSBIB Executive Committee and Board of Directors of Pubali Bank, Professor Md Nazmul Hassan, PhD, Chairman of Islamic Banks Consultative Forum (IBCF) and Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited, Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, Chairman of Standard Bank Limited, Prof Md Anwarul Azim Arif, Chairman of Social Islami Bank Limited and Md Abdullah Sharif, Secretary General of Central Sharia Board along with Managing Directors and Chairmen of Sharia Supervisory Committee were present.
Dhaka, Sept 8 (UNB) - A German business delegation arrived here on Sunday on a five-day visit to discuss trade and investment issues with their Bangladesh counterparts.
The visit is organised by Ostasiatischer Verein (German Asia-Pacific Business Association) together with Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag (Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry).
The delegation ranging from representatives of the textile, furniture and shipping sectors to those of the environment technology, banking and tourism sectors will meet Bangladesh government high officials as well as leading Bangladeshi and international companies in order to exploit business opportunities in Bangladesh.
The delegation members are Peter Clasen, WGC Clasen (jute sector) and Head of OAV Delegation, Jan Moritz, Julius Hüpeden (textile sector), Arne Küper (GER Ministry of Economy) and Almut Roessner (executive board member of OAV), according to German Embassy in Dhaka.
The delegation members will meet media on September 12 evening before they leave the country.
Peter Fahrenholtz, German Ambassador to Bangladesh, will also attend the press conference to be held from 7pm-7:30 pm at InterContinental Dhaka.
Dhaka, Sep 8 (UNB)- The country’s electronics giant ‘Walton’ has registered a record number of fridge sales in the domestic market by selling out nearly 17 lakh units of refrigerators and freezers during the period of January to August of 2019.
It is about 51 percent growth of the company compared to the fridge sales of the previous year’s corresponding period.
Some initiatives, including release of huge energy efficient, environment-friendly and innovative designed inverter and glass door refrigerators with wide voltage system, increase of the compressor’s guaranty period by two years to 12 years, announcement of Tk 10 lakh, Tk 1 lakh, sure cash vouchers with different values or free appliances on the purchase Walton fridge under the digital campaign season 4, were the major forces behind the outstanding growth in fridge sales.
Walton officials disclosed the data at a programme tilted ‘Best Area Manager Evaluation Award and Digital Campaign Branding Award for July -2019’ arranged held at Walton corporate office in the capital on Thursday.
At the function, total of 50 persons, including 20 distributors and 30 area managers from plaza and distributor’s sales network, were honoured with ‘Best Branding Award’ and ‘Best Performance Award’ as the recognition of their extra-ordinary contribution.
Walton Hi-Tech Industries Limited’s Managing Director S M Ashraful Alam handed over the crests and the certificates to the awardees.
The programme was also attended, among others, by the company’s Executive Directors Eva Rezwana, Amdadul Haque Sarker, Nazrul Islam Sarker, S M Zahid Hasan, Humayun Kabir, Sirajul Islam, Mohammad Rayhan, Ariful Ambia, Amin Khan and Dr Md Shakhawat Hossen, Deputy Executive Directors Firoj Alam and Shahjada Salim, Operative Director Robiul Alam Bhuiyan and Walton’s Media Adviser Enayet Ferdous.
Walton have focused on the potential markets of the developed nations like Australia, America and Europe, mentioning it Walton officials said, thus domestic and international experts from Italy, Japan and South Korea are collaborating with each other for producing huge energy efficient, environment-friendly and innovative designed global models’ refrigerators.
Walton Fridge’s Chief Executive Officer Golam Murshed said, each and every fridges of Walton has been marketed after obtaining quality certificate from the international standard testing lab NUSDAT-UTS.
The officials also informed that Walton is making customers’ database with the aim of providing best after sales services swiftly through online.
They are conducting digital campaign season-4 across the country, and a good number of customers received Tk 10 lakh, sure cash vouchers and different sorts of Walton products.