A tearful Jack Ma officially left Alibaba on Tuesday, donning a guitar and a rock star wig with an occasion for thousands of workers of this e-commerce giant that he founded 20 years ago at a tiny shared apartment in Hangzhou city in southern China.
During a four hour party in an 80,000-capacity arena, Alibaba’s billionaire executive chairman delivered on his promise of a year ago to hand over to CEO Daniel Zhang.
Costumed performers, some dance into dubstep songs and dressed in traditional Chinese dress, and singers paid tribute to Ma’s reputation for dressing up and acting at large events, entering into a parade of floats representing Alibaba branches like shopping website Tmall and payment support Ant Financial.
“After tonight I will begin a new life. I do believe the world is great, there are several opportunities, and I like excitement so much, and that’s the reason why I will retire early,” Ma told employees and guests.
Ma was seen at one stage welling up with tears as staff put on skits and sang songs, prompting the subject”Jack Ma has cried” to trend on Chinese social networking platform Weibo.
Toward the conclusion of the ceremony, Ma, co-founder Lucy Peng, and CEO of Alibaba’s technology committee Wang Juan donned rock star-style leather coats and wigs to execute Chinese pop songs. They were united by co-founder Joe Tsai dressed in Marilyn Monroe style white dress and a blond wig.
Zhang, also clad in stone star garb, then delivered a solo, having previously said that Alibaba would keep investing in areas like cloud computing.
The company also said on Tuesday that it had adopted six new core values, one of which was a pledge to”respect the work-life equilibrium decisions of each individual”, marking a step away from Ma’s recent remarks advocating tech firm employees to work nights and weekends, which ignited a nationwide debate.
Ma also told attendees he expected to see Alibaba shoulder more responsibility to enhance society amid the sweeping changes caused by technologies like large data and 5G.
“It isn’t easy to be a powerful company, but it’s more challenging to be a fantastic company,” he said. “A powerful company is dependent on its commercial ability, even though a fantastic company is kind and responsible.”
Jack Ma was seen at one stage welling up with tears as staff put on skits and sang songs, prompting the subject”Jack Ma has cried” to trend on Chinese social networking platform Weibo.