Alibaba’s bizarre annual tradition of holding a mass wedding ceremony for its employees continued this year – without founder Jack Ma

  • Ali Baba has held a mass wedding for 102 couples every year since 2006.
  • Founder of Alibaba Jack Ma usually officiated the ceremony, which is part of the festivities of Ali’s Day.

Alibaba apparently thinks workplaces are a suitable place to find love, and it backs that idea by holding a mass wedding ceremony for 102 couples each year on May 10. Alibaba founder Jack Ma usually attends the ceremony, but this year he was nowhere to be found.

Regardless, the company on Tuesday held a mass lilac-themed wedding ceremony for its employees at its campus in Hangzhou, China. Group marriage was first introduced in 2006 as part of Ali Day, a corporate day for its employees. Ali Day and the wedding pageant, which takes place on May 10 each year, are long-standing traditions that Alibaba says are meant to “commemorate the resilience and spirit of Alibaba employees.”

Despite a lingering drizzle, the bride and groom marched on a purple carpet to the ceremony venue, similar to the red carpet treatment couples have received at ceremonies in previous years.

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The idea of ​​marrying – specifically – 102 couples came directly from Ma, who previously said he hoped Alibaba would last 102 years. For the newlyweds to marry on Ali’s Day, at least half of each couple must be an Alibaba employee, a company spokesperson told Insider.

Each year, the event attracts hundreds of hopeful contestants. According to a screenshot shared by a Weibo user earlier this year, 1,206 couples asked to walk down the aisle as part of this year’s ceremony.

This year, more than 100,000 users went online to watch Ali Day celebrations unfold live, Alibaba said in a blog post.

However, although Alibaba maintained longstanding traditions for the group wedding event, there was one notable difference this year: founder Jack Ma was nowhere to be found.

He was not visible in photos and videos taken at the event, and Chinese media did not mention his presence.

Ma had officiated the mass ceremony in the past. However, a company spokesperson told Insider that Daniel Zhang, the current chairman and CEO of Alibaba, has been doing this job for the past three years.

Ma even managed to appear at Ali Day 2021 events, even as he faced an intense crackdown on his businesses that saw him withdraw from the public spotlight.

Ma’s apparent absence from this year’s Ali Day will likely raise further questions about her role at the company.

Ma stepped down as CEO in 2013. He stepped down as chairman in 2019 and gave up his seat on Alibaba’s board of directors in 2020.

Although he has moved away from public leadership roles, Ma still wields considerable control over the conglomerate. He is still a member of the Alibaba Partnership, a committee that elects the majority of Alibaba’s board members.

Observers continue to watch Ma. Last week, interest in his whereabouts boiled over when rumors that someone surnamed Ma was under arrest caused Alibaba’s stock price to drop momentarily. This rumor has since been debunked.

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