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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Person of the week
Joseph Tsai: Alibaba’s mega-dealmaker
     2014-September-19  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Alibaba’s success today is mainly because of its great leadership. If Alibaba were a movie, according to media, Chairman Jack Ma would be the star actor and director, and Joseph Tsai, vice-chairman, would be the executive producer. Tsai is said to be the driving force behind all of Alibaba’s acquisitions, market penetration strategies and growth.

    AT 4:30 a.m. on a May morning in Hong Kong, Joseph Tsai gathered with three other executives of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. With the U.S. stock market just closed, it was time to submit the Chinese e-commerce giant’s prospectus for an initial public offering — likely to be the largest ever in the United States.

    As bottles of champagne awaited, each executive typed a word of the company name on a computer. All four then hit the send button, submitting the 340-page document that officially began the IPO process that was to culminate in a few weeks.

    While Chairman Jack Ma is the visionary founder of Alibaba, Tsai, the vice-chairman, is the guy who stays up until 4:30 a.m. to execute that vision. Yale-educated and a former lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Tsai’s job is to convince investors to buy the stock of a Chinese company that analysts say is worth almost US$200 billion, making it the most valuable Internet firm after Google Inc.

    “Alibaba wouldn’t be where it is today without Joe Tsai,” said Porter Erisman, who worked in marketing and communications at Alibaba in the early days and just released a documentary on the company’s beginnings. “Joe is the international lens for the whole group.”

    Age: 50

    Source of wealth: e-commerce,

    self-made

    Residence: Hong Kong

    Citizenship: Canada

    Family status: Married, 3 children

    Education: Doctor of Jurisprudence, Yale University; Bachelor of Arts/Science, Yale University

    Born in Taiwan, the 50-year-old Tsai went to the United States in 1977 to attend the Lawrenceville School, an elite boarding school in New Jersey, speaking hardly any English. By the time he graduated, he was conversing with no accent, and playing lacrosse.

    He went on to play the sport at Yale University, where he stood in stark contrast to other players from middle-class backgrounds, said Jeff Gordon, a teammate from Long Island, New York. That didn’t stop Tsai from assimilating easily.

    “We all immediately bonded,” said Gordon, who’s now an executive at Dish Network Corp. in Denver, Colorado. “I knew what hard work he put in on the lacrosse field on a daily basis. Joe always did what he thought was right, and he was a steadying presence for all of us.”

    Tsai defied conventional jock protocol by wearing a pink triangle on his chest in support of gay rights. When members of the team teased him, he replied that it was just the right thing to do. A big lacrosse fan, today he funds a Hong Kong team.

    Tsai helped transform Alibaba into a global powerhouse, leading negotiations for most of the early funding rounds, including US$20 million from SoftBank Corp, and negotiating dozens of acquisitions, averaging two a month just this year. He also courted investors for Alibaba.com’s US$1.69 billion IPO in Hong Kong in 2007.

    Tsai also arranged the more controversial aspects of Alibaba Group’s upcoming IPO. He championed a partnership governance model that gives 27 individuals outsized control in nominating a majority of the board.

    Tsai will be well rewarded if the IPO is successful. His stake of 3.6 percent could be worth as much as US$7.1 billion, based on analyst estimates of the company’s value.

    Alibaba Group is seeking to raise up to US$24.3 billion in its upcoming IPO. The company’s list of significant shareholders, meanwhile, is short. Former English schoolteacher and lead founder Ma owns 8.9 percent. Tsai, executive vice-chairman, holds 3.6 percent. Yahoo owns 22.6 percent and SoftBank 34.4 percent of Alibaba on a fully diluted basis.

    Born into a family of prominent lawyers, Tsai graduated from Yale Law School in 1990 and then worked as a tax attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York. After three years, he switched to private equity, seeking a role that allowed him to make decisions, instead of advising on them. He worked for a small, buyout firm in New York and then moved to Hong Kong for Stockholm-based Investor AB.

    It was in this role that he first met Ma in 1999 in Hangzhou after being introduced by a friend. Tsai was impressed with Ma’s idea to create Alibaba.com, an international import and export marketplace, as well as his charismatic personality.

    Tsai quit his US$700,000-a-year job at Investor AB and offered to work for nothing for Alibaba. Ma asked that each of Alibaba’s 18 co-founders — of which Tsai is the only Western- educated member — accept a salary of US$600 a year.

    Tsai served as chief financial officer of Alibaba for more than a decade before becoming Alibaba’s vice-chairman in 2013, overseeing the company’s development. He led the deal to repurchase some of Yahoo! Inc.’s stake in Alibaba through transactions valued at US$7.6 billion in 2012.

    Bo Peabody, a U.S. entrepreneur, venture capitalist and Internet executive, said that the combination of Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai is perfect for Alibaba’s growth because Tsai is the implementer of the visions and dreams of Jack Ma and both of them have the ability to get things done professionally.

    (SD-Agencies)

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