8 Facts About Daniel Zhang, The Man Who’s Taking Over Jack Ma in Alibaba

Image: Nikkei Asian Review

Did you know? The most subscribed Youtuber over the last 5 years, PewDiePie, is in danger of having his throne topped.

T-Series, a YouTube channel that creates music for the largest music record label in India, currently boasts 61m subscribers (just 5m short of the king himself), and at the rate it’s going…

It’s all set to overtake within the span of mere months.

In fact, there’s actually a live video stream that keeps track of both follower bases.

Yeah, pretty unexpected stuff, but I guess that’s just life. It tends to poke you in the ass when it’s bored, and throw in random things when you don’t want it to.

But it seems that the takeover isn’t just a standalone matter as elsewhere, Jack Ma has given up his seat.

The usurper in question?

Daniel Zhang.

Image: Footprint to Africa

Yah, I know, he looks like a politician or your see-once-a-year uncle, but read on because he’s going to be the face of Alibaba soon.

1. Who’s Daniel Zhang?

To the layman, Daniel Zhang might not ring any bells. But to a professional layman like me…

It still doesn’t ring any bells.

As such, I looked up his name to find out who he really is.

Image: Google

And so it seems that Daniel Zhang, who’s born in 1972, has previously undertaken roles as CEO of Taobao, and president of Tmall.com.

Ups?

Upz.

But long before that, just after he obtained a bachelor’s degree from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, he was plying his trade at PriceWaterCoopers and Arthur Andersen.

See, dreams do come true – Wise Old Man

Then why are you still broke and penniless af?

Wise old men don’t dream, you idiot. They provide dreams.

Sureeeeee.

2. He’s also a wizard

Though by that, I don’t mean one of those 35-year-old guys who’ve never touched a girl and thus started calling themselves wizards. Instead, I’m talking about the financial kind.

A financial wizard.

Unbeknownst to the majority of people, the 46-year-old certified accountant has been the chief driving force behind a transformation of old-school commerce, a transition that has been quite rightly dubbed “New Retail”.

And the results show too. Since taking over, the company’s stock has increased by a whopping 87 per cent, and Alibaba now possesses a market value of around US$420 billion, overshadowing that of WeChat operator Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Plus, he even designed and pulled off mega-events such as the yearly Singles’ Day shopping bonanza.

Truly, it’s little wonder why he’s the man to take Jack Ma’s place.

Though contrary to what people believe…

3. It didn’t happen like K-Dramas

I see that disbelief on your face, and I empathise; like how could it not be out of a K-Drama right? There’s bound to be tons of politics, drama and maybe some adopted daughters or something.

But as it turns out, there’s none of that. Sorry, K-Drama fans.

Instead of forcibly usurping the throne, Jack Ma has announced that he had given up the throne voluntarily.

But hey, you might be wondering: if Daniel Zhang is already the COE – I mean, CEO, what is he taking over from Jack Ma? The status of founder? Founder can anyhowly take over one meh?

Well, no. He’s taking over as the Executive Chairman.

Here’s a business lesson: the Executive Chairman is, basically, the boss of the CEO. The CEO manage the executives who execute tasks, and the Executive Chairman kind of manage the CEO.

Yeah, so now you know the man behind a chair is actually more powderful than a Certificate of Entitlement.

4. He will only be taking over in a year’s time

According to Alibaba’s Twitter, the transition will not be instant. Instead, Jack Ma will see out the rest of his board term, and Daniel Zhang will only take over the reins one year from 10 September 2019.

Image: AlibabaGroup Twitter

No offence, but one year is a long time. Maybe by 9 September 2019, aliens would have made contact with us and started another company called Davidada.

5. He’s the next step in the legacy

With Alibaba being such a lucrative business right now, one wouldn’t expect anyone to abandon such a money-making position at the top of it all. But apparently, Jack Ma isn’t just about the 曾经拥有, but the…

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