Cindy Hui, Director, International Legal, Alibaba Group

Author Cassandra Lim
March 13, 2018

Taylor Root is proud to be supporting International Women’s Day 2018. We have interviewed a selection of our female clients asking them how they are pressing forward for women’s gender parity.

What is the best and worst decision you’ve ever made?

My best decision yet was to take up the challenge to join Alibaba when our team only had three international lawyers, myself included, covering the planet for commercial matters. This job truly took me to many places, and we build things using both heart and brain.
My worst decision? Probably taking the last flight between Hanghzou and Hong Kong which is always delayed. But I still keep giving in to this mistake.

How is being an in-house lawyer at your current company different from that of other companies?

At Alibaba a lawyer is not just a lawyer, we give input on products structuring, user experience design, platform governance, marketing strategy, government relations, PR, and more – our lawyers are expected to advise already knowing the hybrid nature of our businesses; if we don’t, we need to find answers ourselves within our people matrix, because no one has the model answer. Business models are always fluid here, shaping global commerce; “embrace change” is our key work ethic.

What are some of the major recent trends in your industry? In what ways have you seen these change?

Science and technology break things and challenge establishment – the way it has always been that propelled human breakthroughs. Within our electronic ecosystem we constantly work with agencies, clients, business partners and stakeholders to make sure our ambitions are understood.

What are some of the challenges you face when hiring for your team?

Our team takes care of international commercial matters of the Group. When we hire, I usually look for a good balance of legal expertise, background, locations and qualifications to support our growing global businesses. Our team currently has legal professionals based in Hong Kong, China, EU, Russia, US, Japan, deployed with a mix of more than seven jurisdictions of practising qualifications and speaking more than eight languages, from in-house and private practice experiences. When expanding for new hires, as we do often, we take care to find individuals with a portfolio that can complement our team dynamics, who are truly energetic, humble learners, committed to the vision of improving trades and lives around the world through our commerce infrastructure.

What woman inspires you and why?

There are so many! Zadie Smith, Pina Bausch, Virginia Woolf, Annie Leibovitz… Determination and authenticity fascinate me.

If not a lawyer, what would you be?
I would be teaching creative writing.