This year’s Singles’ Day—an online shopping festival popularized by China’s leading e-commerce site, Alibaba—was a little special. It was the first super-sale overseen by Daniel Zhang in his new role as executive chairman, having succeeded Alibaba’s famous founder Jack Ma in September. However, Zhang has been at Alibaba’s helm since 2015, when the Shanghai-born businessman was appointed the group’s CEO, taking over from Jonathan Lu.
Overall, Zhang’s leadership style might not be as flashy as Ma’s, but the demure Alibaba veteran gets results. The group beat analysts’ expectations this year, announcing $10 billion in net revenue for the second fiscal quarter. As for Singles’ Day? In the first hour of this year’s sale, Alibaba took orders for $12 billion worth of goods—up 22% from last year’s pace.
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