It was such a big event that Alibaba booked an entire stadium for it. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba on Friday gave an epic party in a stadium in its headquarters city Hangzhou to honor Jack Ma, the company's legendary founder and one of the most well-known IT executives in China, as he stepped down as CEO.
The celebration also marked the 10th anniversary of Alibaba-owned Taobao, China's answer to eBay, and it was such a big deal in China that there was a live stream of the party. Among the highlights was when Ma sang Jackie Chan songs along with Chinese netizens, many of whom were discussing Ma’s decision on Weibo at the time.
“Everyone thinks their company can’t survive without them," Ma said at the party. "This isn’t all that different from thinking my son can’t be apart from me. If your son can’t survive without you, it’s not his fault, it’s yours. If you love your son, you should have let him learn to be independent from the beginning.”
Ma surprised many with his decision as he is only 48, relatively young for a retiring CEO. He will be succeeded by Jonathan Lu, a former Taobao executive.
Ma will remain chairman of the board of Alibaba and take on a new role: president of the board of directors for the Nature Conservancy, an environmental organization. This move marks a shift toward philanthropy and humanitarian causes for Ma, who seems popular with netizens.
“Jack Ma is so cool, with his mashup singing!” Weibo user 数据化管理研究 said.
“Jack Ma just said he’s a thug. How shrewd and to the point!” 今科李志翔 said.