Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, has demoted senior executive Jiang Fan following an internal investigation into allegations of improper behavior, according to a source familiar with the matter. Jiang was removed from a partnership that appoints some Alibaba board members and demoted from group senior vice president to group vice president. The move follows speculation on Chinese social media regarding Jiang’s relationship with a prominent social media influencer and whether he used his position at Alibaba to ensure preferential treatment for merchants associated with Ruhnn Holding Ltd, an e-commerce company where the influencer serves as Chief Marketing Officer. Alibaba concluded in its internal investigation that its investment in Ruhnn was unrelated to Jiang Fan and that Ruhnn stores had not benefited from his influence. However, the company cited «inappropriate handling of family affairs» by Jiang as a reason for the demotion, which had caused a significant public opinion crisis affecting the company’s reputation.

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