Alibaba, the huge Chinese-based internet company that owns, the Taobao marketplace and a dozen other operations, has hired a Canadian-born executive, Michael Evans, as president in its bid to expand internationally. He reports to Daniel Zhang, the group's chief executive who succeeded Jonathan Lu in May. His initial task will be to strike close partnerships with key brands and retailers to give them access to Alibaba's database of 350 million Chinese customers. Evans, who won gold in the Canadian rowing team at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, has spent 30 years in global finance. He worked with Goldman Sachs for 20 years, notably as vice chairman in charge of global growth markets and chairman of Asia. He has been an adviser to Alibaba to many years. He became a member of the board of directors just before the company went public last September.