Alibaba Group on Monday celebrated its annual “AliDay” – an employee appreciation day unlike any other.
Employees’ families and loved ones were invited to its campuses for a two-day carnival, featuring a series of activities steeped in company culture.
The best-known part of AliDay might be the company’s annual group wedding. There, 102 couples – a nod to Alibaba’s vision to last 102 years – tied the knot in a ceremony on Xixi campus, presided over by Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang. Staff and their family members also got the chance to ask executives questions at meet-and-greets.
Nearly 37,000 people visited Alibaba offices around the world on Saturday and Monday. Many more also tuned into virtual events to join the celebration.
AliDay’s origin dates back to 2003, when an Alibaba employee showed symptoms of SARS, forcing the entire company to work from home to prevent infections. It couldn’t have come at a worse time: Alibaba was on the verge of turning cash positive and just about to launch its new e-commerce platform, Taobao. It couldn’t afford to suspend operations. So staff took their work home with them. And their family members pitched in, helping answer calls, cook meals and look after children.
It became a watershed moment for Alibaba, one that would come to define its culture and approach to work. The company later named May 10 – the day that Taobao launched in 2003, in the midst of the SARS crisis – AliDay.
The day commemorates the resilience and spirit of Alibaba employees. It’s also the company’s “Thanksgiving Day” to show appreciation for the love and support of employees’ families and friends.
Here are highlights from this year’s AliDay celebrations.