On 10 May, Chinese conglomerate Alibaba marked Ali Day in offices worldwide, featuring forums by senior executives to answer employees’ questions, enjoy music and dance performances by Alibaba employees (known as Aliren), and blood pressure and eyesight check-ups for family members of staff.
It was features the novel “wedding”, which is essentially a celebration of employees who have been married over the previous year. Alibaba Founder and Executive Chairman, Jack Ma (pictured above) often officiates, offering words of wisdom to the new couples.
In 2018, almost 10,000 family members and friends visited the company’s Xixi headquarters alone, while this year, more than 100,000 Aliren and their families were involved in the celebrations globally.
Ali Day is held to mark the tenacity of colleagues and their families during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) crisis in China 16 years ago.
During the height of the outbreak in May 2003 in China, one employee was thought to have contracted the deadly virus. “The entire staff was ordered to self-quarantine at home. But instead of putting the business on hold, everyone, including family members, pulled together to keep the operation afloat,” per the company’s statement.
Thus, on the basis of an employees’ recommendation, this prompted Ma to declare May 10 as “Ali Day,” as a way to pay tribute to employees and their family members, whom he often calls the company’s “biggest pillar”. The company adds: “It also underscores Alibaba’s values, placing ‘customers first, employees second and shareholders third’.”
This year, offices across all time zones held their own celebrations. The main Xixi Campus in Hangzhou was transformed into a giant carnival, with musical and dance performances by employees throughout the day. There was a playground for children, arts-and-crafts corners and magic shows.
As for the wedding, Ma presided over the ceremony for 102 pairs of newlyweds, dressed in crimson traditional Chinese attire. A Singaporean Ant Financial employee, Natasha Sabnani, and her husband (pictured below) were one of these 102 pairs of newlyweds who were invited to be a part of this annual event.
Further, the Singapore office saw a programme of family-centric activities planned in true carnival fashion, such as booths for caricature drawing, face-painting, magic shows, and claw machine games, as well as popcorn, cotton candy, and ice cream stands.
Alibaba employees brought their families to enjoy the annual festivities and were introduced to the executives leading each business unit, and got to ask them questions about the respective businesses too.
Meanwhile, Alibaba Group Vice Chairman Joe Tsai invited the entire New York staff and guests to a New York Liberty WNBA basketball game. In Hangzhou, Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang and Chief People Officer Judy Tong answered questions from employees’ family members.
All photos / Provided
Lead photo / Jack Ma presiding over the group wedding celebration on Ali Day