Jack Ma officially retired as the chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba last night, symbolically passing the baton — or mic, as it were — to CEO Daniel Zhang in an epically bedazzled performance of the Josh Groban hit You Raise Me Up.
The duet took place in an 80,000-seat stadium, and saw Ma don a pair of blinged-out shades, a wig with long beaded braids, and a leather jacket from an alternate-universe mash-up of Mad Max and Cabaret to sing the first few bars of the mom-friendly ballad.
But Ma — no fool when it comes to symbolism, obviously — leaves the song’s chorus to his incoming replacement, Zhang, who looks like an accountant (which he is) but has the voice of an angel.
Jack Ma's performances at Alibaba's annual parties are among the most-anticipated acts of the night. And when Daniel Zhang joins in, that just makes it extra special. Check out their version of "You Raise Me Up" at the company's 20th anniversary celebration. pic.twitter.com/IFMR6v059I
— Alibaba Group (@AlibabaGroup) September 11, 2019
Alibaba group, in addition to being Asia’s most valuable listed company, according to Reuters, is also the owner of Hong Kong’s own South China Morning Post, which once likened Ma to the classical Chinese philosopher Confucius thanks to his wise bon mots, such as: “If there are nine rabbits on the ground, if you want to catch one, just focus on one.”
The retirement spectacle, which coincided with Ma’s 55th birthday and the company’s 20th anniversary, was not out of character for Ma, who had danced to Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean at the 2017 anniversary party.
Annnnd, as if that wasn’t enough, he also produced and starred in his own martial arts epic (well, 20-minute short, but it feels epic) in which he kicks Muay Thai movie star Tony Jaa in the nuts, fights Mongolian sumo champion Asashoryu Akinori, has a foot bath with Ip Man, and gives a beatdown to Jet Li, among others.
Why? Well, because Jack Ma got money like that.
Since its humble beginnings, Alibaba has grown into a 100,000-employee behemoth with a market capitalization of US$460 billion.