13 November 2018
Tung Chee-hwa will become an independent director on Alibaba's board. Photos: HKEJ, Reuters
Tung Chee-hwa will become an independent director on Alibaba's board. Photos: HKEJ, Reuters

Alibaba takes Tung Chee-hwa on board

Tung Chee-hwa, who had served as Hong Kong’s first chief executive after the city’s return to Chinese rule in 1997, will join China’s Alibaba Group as an independent non-executive director, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Tuesday.

Tung, aged 77, will be among three other independent non-executive directors on the e-commerce giant’s board, the report said, citing a revised prospectus that Alibaba has filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission ahead of the firm’s New York initial public offering.

Tung, who is now part of Beijing’s leadership as a vice chairman of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a top government advisory body, told HKEJ that he is conscious of Alibaba’s business direction and commitment to sustainable development.

The appointment is apparently a political decision. However, some sources told HKEJ that the Chinese group may be seeking to use Tung’s connections in the US, possibly as a counter measure to potential anti-trust litigation in that country.

Tung was the chairman of Orient Overseas International (00316.HK) and an independent non-executive director of HSBC Holdings (00005.HK). Alibaba’s appointment is his first directorship since he took the city’s top job in 1997.

Jerry Yang, co-founder and former chief executive of Yahoo Inc., was also appointed to Alibaba’s board as an independent non-executive director.

Besides a list of directors, Alibaba’s revised listing document also unveiled for the first time a list of the group’s 27 partners. The latest partners list is one person less than the number the company disclosed in May.

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