HANGZHOU, China, May 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Alibaba employees across the world joined together to celebrate Ali Day, an annual event honoring the tenacity and fighting spirit of their colleagues and their families during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome 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.
Such determination and dedication prompted Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma in 2005 to declare May 10 as “Ali Day.” More than just a day of merriment, Ali Day is about paying tribute to employees and their family members, whom Ma often calls the company’s “biggest pillar.” It also underscores Alibaba’s values, placing “customers first, employees second and shareholders third.”
This year, Alibaba’s offices across all time zones held their own celebrations. Its 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.
The highlight of each Ali Day is the “wedding,” or a celebration of Alibaba couples who married over the previous year. This year was no exception, with 102 pairs of newlyweds, dressed in crimson traditional Chinese attire, receiving sage advice from Ma, himself, who presided over the ceremony. The number 102 symbolizes the minimum number of years Ma has said he wants Alibaba to last, spanning three centuries.
On Ali Day, executives personally extend their gratitude to family members of Alibaba employees. This year, 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.