Jonathan Lu Zhaoxi
Alibaba names Jonathan Lu Zhaoxi CEO. Photo: Alibaba Group

China's e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group, has named executive vice president Jonathan Lu Zhaoxi as the company's new CEO.

Lu replaces the company's founder Jack Ma, who stepped down in January to make way for younger talents at the firm and would assume office from 10 May.

He joined the Group in 2000 and headed various key divisions in the company, including the online payment service Alipay and online shopping platform Taobao. Alibaba Group is the parent company of, an online marketplace for small businesses.

"Jonathan and I have worked together for 13 years," said Ma, Ma, who founded the online retailer in 1999.

"Not only has he contributed to building our culture and organisation and developed many talented people, he also possesses a unique leadership style and charisma." Ma will remain with the company as executive chairman.

Lu also serves as the firm's chief data officer, responsible for driving the company's data-sharing platform and president of Aliyun mobile device operating system.

Before joining Alibaba, he had worked in the hotel industry, and later co-founded a network communication company.

Being an early entrant into the China's online retail sector, Alibaba has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years, as China has become the world's biggest internet market with more than 500 million customers. The firm is expected to go public within the next 12 months.

In line with the increased competition in the online retail market, Alibaba has been trying to restructure itself by breaking up itself into 25 different units, headed by different executives.

Lu noted that the group wanted to ensure that it continued to satisfy customers in order to maintain its dominant position.

"We live in an era of rapid change where pressures and challenges co-exist, but we must not forget our purpose and keep in mind the premise of 'Customer First'," Lu said.