For China’s Internet Giants, It’s Out with the Old, In with the Young

For China’s Internet Giants, It’s Out with the Old, In with the Young

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As part of their restructuring efforts in 2018 and early 2019, China’s large tech companies – Alibaba,, Xiaomi Technologies, Baidu and Tencent – have promoted competent young employees to leadership positions while letting go of midlevel managers who were no longer able to keep up. Dong Jie, a writer for Chinese tech media platform All Weather TMT, explains the talent development strategies of China’s internet giants. CEOs, managers and people working in human resources may find these HR insights applicable. Critics might remark that the companies’ eagerness to move established employees to the sidelines to make space for their young successors could also have negative consequences. Managers and HR experts will have to decide themselves whether in their business environments, experience is an asset or a burden.


China’s slowing economic growth in 2018 has fueled fears of elimination among Chinese internet companies. China’s internet giants readjusted goals, set up defenses and restructured their businesses. Some have leaned into new retail strategies, some have turned emphasis to business-to-business (B2B) operations, and others have decided to focus on artificial intelligence and technological advancement. All these companies, however, are now emphasizing management training and employee development. Competent, forward-thinking young leaders increasingly replace midlevel managers. 

Alibaba was the first of China’s internet giants to initiate a talent development system. All new hires receive training prior to settling into their roles. Which training program employees will go through depends on their experience. In 2003, Alibaba began succession training programs for each management position. Then in 2012, Alibaba put into motion its plan to evolve and upgrade its leadership by promoting young talents. Its employee development system provides...

About the Author

Dong Jie is a writer for All Weather TMT, a Chinese tech media platform dedicated to helping investors understand the tech scene.

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