- Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is known for extravagant events and displays.
- Every year, the company holds an event called "Ali Day" to celebrate its employees and their families.
- The day features a lavish mass wedding celebration, presided over by founder Jack Ma.
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Alibaba is a Chinese e-commerce giant, and its founder Jack Ma is the richest man in the country.
It is often compared to Amazon, but Amazon doesn’t hold a candle to the extravagance of Alibaba’s events. Its annual shopping extravaganza "Singles Day" outstrips Amazon’s Prime Day for sales, and last year it featured a Mariah Carey performance and a Cirque du Soleil act.
Read more: We went to Alibaba’s 24-hour shopping extravaganza that is like nothing in America, featuring a Mariah Carey performance and an online-shopping-themed Cirque du Soleil act. Here’s what it reveals about the future of retail.
This kind of ceremonial spectacle isn’t just part of Alibaba’s marketing, it’s ingrained into its corporate culture. Every year the company celebrates "Ali Day" to honor the company’s employees and their families.
Some of the celebrations resemble a typical company day out, with playgrounds for employees’ children and sports games for staff. But the centrepiece of the day is the mass employee wedding, which Jack Ma himself officiates.
Here is a snapshot of what it’s like inside Alibaba’s group weddings.
"Ali day" has been running for 15 years, and the company claims it came into being because of SARS.
According to an Alibaba press release, the origins of Ali day sprung from the outbreak of SARS in 2002, an acute respiratory illness that killed 774 people in total.
After an employee started displaying symptoms, all of Alibaba’s employees were sent home to be quarantined. Some 400 Alibaba staff reportedly worked from home for eight days.
"A year later, an employee suggested a day to commemorate the way all Aliren, as Alibaba employees are known, and their families came together during that time," the press release reads.
CEO Jack Ma designated May 10 as "Ali Day."
It was the date when Alibaba managed to launch a new consumer shopping site in the middle of the SARS outbreak.
Ma announced Ali Day in an email to employees in which he said: "Adversity is a necessary ingredient in the making of great men and companies.”
VCG via Getty Images
"Every 10th of May, we will host a series of activities to acknowledge and inspire the spirit of Alibaba in every Aliren. You will see, hear and feel the corporate values of Alibaba in stories of people around us. You will know how these values have worked miracles in ordinary life," Ma wrote.
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