Summary of Who Is Jack Ma’s Successor Daniel Zhang?

Looking for the article?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 5 minutes.

Who Is Jack Ma’s Successor Daniel Zhang? summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans




In September 2018, Alibaba founder Jack Ma announced that he will be stepping down as chairman of the company in one year’s time. He has named company CEO Daniel Zhang (Zhang Yong) as his successor. Although Zhang has been serving as Alibaba’s CEO since 2015, the public doesn’t know much about the quiet, reserved Chinese businessman. In this article, reporter Kong Lingjuan tries to fill the information gap by painting a well-rounded portrait of Zhang based on interviews he gave in the past as well as statements about him from his Alibaba colleagues. Kong addresses Zhang’s shortcomings as well as his strengths.

About the Author

Kong Lingjuan writes about business and management for the WeChat wemedia account Hua Shang Tao Lue. 



Daniel Zhang (Zhang Yong) was plucked from obscurity when Jack Ma handed him the reins of Alibaba in May 2015. Zhang had joined the company in 2007; he was neither one of the original 18 co-founders nor cultivated through the ranks. In fact, he had only become an Alibaba partner – one of 28 long-term managers who exercise significant control over the company – in 2013. Prior to joining Alibaba, Zhang was vice president and chief financial officer at Shanda Interactive Entertainment, a video game company. At Alibaba, he first served as CFO of the consumer-to-consumer (C2C) e-commerce platform Taobao, then as the head of the business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce platform Tmall before being named CEO. 

In terms of character, Jack Ma and Daniel Zhang are opposites. Ma is unconstrained; Zhang reserved. Ma is impulsive and passionate; Zhang is calm and rational. Within the company, Zhang is known for being incredibly dedicated and industrious; ...