J. Michael Evans

Director and president
Alibaba Group
J. Michael Evans, director and presidnet, Alibaba Group, 2019 Power Player

Michael Evans, director and president of Alibaba Group, invites you to come to China. “If you haven’t been there in a while, you’ll find it’s a way to glimpse what the future of retail will look like globally,” says Evans, who joined Alibaba four years ago, after two decades building Goldman Sachs’ Asia business. He explains that in China, the entire retail value chain is fully digitized. “Consumers don’t think about the world online versus offline — neither should brands and retailers,” Evans says, adding that retail in China is more of a lifestyle than simply shopping. AI-driven personalization is at the heart of everything for the company; consequently, consumers are opening its app nearly eight times daily. “Livestreaming, short-form video and gamification erase the lines between shopping and entertainment. This is what the future of retail looks like, and it’s already happening in China on Alibaba’s platforms.”

Evans leads the team globalizing Alibaba and says it’s one of the world’s five best jobs. In developing markets, Alibaba identifies partners to build local-to-local businesses and provides enabling infrastructure like payments, logistics and cloud computing. In developed markets, Evans focuses on connecting brands and small businesses to the Chinese customer. Regarding its Jetsons-meets-Whole Foods grocery concept called Hema, Evans says, “It’s a massively disruptive business model. This is only the beginning of how Alibaba can revolutionize the entire retail value chain and the merchant and consumer experience.”