Daniel Zhang has a tricky act to comply with.
The Alibaba CEO will inherit the position of chairman subsequent 12 months from Jack Ma, the flamboyant Chinese language entrepreneur who constructed the $420 billion web enterprise from scratch.
Changing China’s greatest recognized tech tycoon on the prime of the nation’s largest firm by market worth will push Zhang middle stage. However the govt, who has labored for Alibaba ( for greater than a decade, is taken into account a secure pair of fingers. )
“Daniel has been instrumental in bringing Alibaba to its present scale,” stated John Choi, the top of China web analysis at funding financial institution Daiwa Capital Markets.
He created the world’s greatest purchasing bonanza
Earlier than turning into CEO in 2015, Zhang spent a lot of his profession at Alibaba within the group’s core on-line purchasing enterprise.
Alibaba describes him as “the important thing architect” of Singles Day, an occasion that began as an try to spice up gross sales and grew into the world’s greatest purchasing day.
The frenzy of on-line spending, which takes place on November 11, generates larger gross sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday mixed. Final 12 months, it topped $25 billion.
He likes to maintain his toes on the bottom
Zhang’s promotion is prone to imply continuity in enterprise, however it is going to convey a change in management fashion.
Ma, 54, made a reputation for himself as an entertainer, dressing up as Michael Jackson and a punk rocker to carry out at firm occasions. He even starred in a brief kung fu film.
Zhang has saved a a lot decrease profile.
“He is gentle mannered, he is extra Clark Kent, and Jack’s the Superman,” stated Duncan Clark, the writer of “Alibaba: The Home That Jack Ma Constructed.”
Zhang has admitted as a lot himself. “Jack Ma is a man with many concepts. He’s very, very inventive,” Zhang stated in an interview with the Monetary Instances final 12 months. “However I am the man who at all times needs to place my foot on the bottom.”
At 46, the youthful govt remains to be prepared to experiment, although. “He has the heart to innovate and take a look at inventive enterprise fashions,” Ma wrote in his letter Monday saying the succession plan.
He stop gaming for e-commerce
Zhang arrived at Alibaba in 2007 because the finance chief of the corporate’s Taobao Market, which he helped grow to be one of many group’s prime companies.
He got here from Shanda Interactive Leisure, a number one Chinese language developer of on-line video games that was listed on the Nasdaq.
His choice to stop the quickly rising gaming business adopted an hour-long chat with Ma at Alibaba’s headquarters within the jap metropolis of Hangzhou.
“The reason being as a result of I feel e-commerce has a brilliant future and it is simply initially,” Zhang instructed Alibaba’s information web site final 12 months. He stated he most popular it to the gaming enterprise as a result of it is “extra related to the individuals’s every day life.”
— Sherisse Pham contributed to this text.
CNNMoney (Hong Kong) First revealed September 10, 2018: eight:16 AM ET