Jack Ma has decided to step down as executive chairman of Alibaba as of next year to concentrate on his charitable work and teaching. Photo: AFP
Jack Ma is defying communist gravity by proving that China can generate world-beating brands. Photo: AFP

Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba’s board of directors, has given up ownership of the company’s VIE structure, in a move designed to ease his administrative burden, The Paper reported.

Alibaba Group confirmed that it has changed the shareholders of the VIE entity from Jack Yun and Xie Shihuang to the form of a limited liability company and limited liability partnership. These LLC and LLP entities are indirectly held by Alibaba partners or management members.

The group also stated that the adjustment of the VIE structure does not involve equity adjustment, nor does it affect Alibaba’s partner mechanism. Ma will continue to serve as a partner of Alibaba.

VIE structure refers to Variable Interest Entities, also known as “protocol control,” which is essentially a way for domestic entities to achieve listing abroad. The key is to control the domestic licensed company via multiple agreements under the VIE structure instead of equity.

In September this year, Ma said that he will no longer serve as the chairman of the group’s board of directors on September 10, 2019, Alibaba’s 20th anniversary. The current CEO Zhang Yong is expected to take over the chairmanship.