(Bloomberg) — Lucy Peng has been dubbed Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s most influential girl.
The co-founder of the e-commerce large not often speaks in public and is little identified exterior of China, however over the previous 20 years she’s performed a key function guiding Jack Ma’s empire. Peng, 47, helped arrange Alibaba’s human-resources division, was Ant Group Co.’s chief govt officer and is now govt chairwoman of Lazada Group SA, the Southeast Asian e-commerce platform.
The previous finance instructor can also be rising as one of many wealthiest folks throughout the wildly profitable Alibaba ecosystem and one of many richest ladies on the planet. Peng holds a 1.7% stake in Ant, the fintech agency that’s set to boost $34.5 billion in a twin itemizing in Shanghai and Hong Kong that would take its valuation to $320 billion. She’ll be value about $5 billion, based mostly on the pricing of the preliminary public providing, in line with the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Ant declined to touch upon Peng’s wealth.
“Jack famously considers ladies a key asset in his success; Lucy is the embodiment of that,” mentioned Duncan Clark, writer of “Alibaba: The Home That Jack Ma Constructed” and chairman of funding consulting agency BDA China. “That’s why she’s been deployed on new ventures at vital moments of the corporate’s growth. She’s been very targeted on the important thing behind-the-scenes work, particularly on human sources, and as such has earned and retained the belief of Jack.”
Girls signify virtually 40% of Alibaba Partnership members, the elite group that has the ability to find out the administration’s annual money bonuses. Together with Peng, six different feminine leaders are heading for billionaire standing because of Ant’s document IPO, with a mixed stake worth of $14.5 billion. They embody Trudy Dai, one of many 18 Alibaba co-founders and president of its business-to-business unit; Judy Tong, the e-commerce large’s chief folks officer; and Ant’s vp, Yijie Peng.
China has been the primary engine for self-made feminine billionaires in recent times: Among the many world’s 500 richest folks, two-thirds of the 15 ladies who created their very own fortunes are Chinese language entrepreneurs, in line with Bloomberg’s wealth index.
Peng met Ma by means of her husband, Solar Tongyu, once they labored collectively at China Pages, a Yellow Pages-like on-line listing Ma arrange earlier than Alibaba. She was born in Chongqing in southwestern China, graduated from Zhejiang Gongshang College’s Hangzhou Institute of Commerce with a bachelor’s diploma in enterprise administration in 1994 and taught at a finance faculty for 5 years earlier than becoming a member of Ma’s e-commerce enterprise, in line with Alibaba’s prospectus in 2014.
Peng served as chief folks officer for many of her time on the e-commerce large earlier than taking the function of Alipay’s CEO in 2010 to reinforce the app’s fee course of and person expertise. In a few 12 months after she took over, the fee success charge had elevated to 95% from 60%, the corporate mentioned on its web site. The platform, owned by Ant, began in 2004 as an escrow service for consumers and sellers on Ma’s buying website Taobao.com because it competed with EBay Inc. for market share in China.
“Alibaba treasures expertise, groups and tradition from day one,” Peng mentioned at a panel dialogue at Stanford College in 2012, including that about 30% of Alibaba leaders’ efficiency metrics are based mostly on group administration. “We set very detailed necessities for tradition and values supported by systematic construction, and it isn’t simply hole phrases.”
After Alibaba spun off Ant in 2011, the unit rapidly acquired licenses and expanded into wealth administration, shopper lending and insurance coverage. With greater than 1 billion customers globally, the agency’s valuation has already surged eightfold over the previous 5 years.
Now Ant is about to promote shares on this planet’s largest IPO, unlocking one of many best wealth-creation machines in historical past. Peng, who owns the largest particular person Ant stake after Ma, and Ma himself aren’t the one ones profitable huge. Not less than 17 different individuals are turning into billionaires from the itemizing, which has enticed retail and institutional buyers alike. The was mentioned to cease taking investor orders for the Hong Kong leg of the IPO a day sooner than deliberate as a result of it was already closely subscribed.
Peng handed over Ant’s chairmanship to Eric Jing in 2018 to give attention to Lazada, an e-commerce enterprise that Alibaba purchased a stake for $1 billion in 2016 earlier than growing its funding over time. Peng served as its CEO for 9 months and stays its chairwoman.
At Ant, Peng is once more behind the scenes. She left the corporate’s board in August, and her title seems solely seven instances within the 674-page prospectus. Nonetheless, the behemoth itemizing and Ant’s rise mark the achievement of her objective from 4 years in the past, when she mentioned an IPO would give the agency a chance to inform its story and lift cash for acquisitions.
“Maybe we needs to be higher at letting everybody know what Ant truly does,” the then-executive chair of Ant mentioned in a 2016 interview. “Funds is simply the tip of the iceberg. What’s huge is underneath the water.”
(Updates with extra particulars in eighth paragraph)
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