Daniel Zhang Yong. Photo: Baidu
Daniel Zhang Yong. Photo: Baidu

Daniel Zhang Yong, the chief executive of Alibaba Group and appointed successor to group chairman Jack Ma Yun, regularly stays in the Sheraton Hangzhou, his second home and first office.

For 11 years, the always working-around-the-clock chief executive dives into his work without having to run errands that could distract him.

The Sheraton Hangzhou is the best hotel in Hangzhou and is close to Alibaba Xixi Campus, but an hour from the center of town.

Not many chief executives have more direct reporting managers than Zhang, who regularly meets and dines with them. Reports say his managers reporting to him often occupy all the rooms in the hotel.

Zhang, who was raised in Shanghai, has to stay in Hangzhou for work, overseeing the world’s largest online shopping portal Taobao.

Zhang joined Alibaba in 2007 after leaving SNDA Entertainment as CFO. Before that he has worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers and Arthur Andersen for 10 years.

Chairman Ma had generous words for Daniel Zhang in his letter published yesterday. “His analytical mind is unparalleled,” the letter reads. “He embraces responsibility with passion.”

At Alibaba, Zhang was known for his “analytical mind” as well as being a workaholic. As an employee and not one of the 18 co-founders, he has still managed to impress Ma.

Zhang turned the Double 11 Festival into the largest single day for shopping in China. Married with no children, he does not own property in Hangzhou because he believes staying in a hotel is best.

Shares of Alibaba Group dropped 3.7% after the news of Ma stepping down. He will hand the reigns to Zhang in September 2019.

Ma hopes to become a teacher – and he has already printed his business card with the official title of “Teacher Jack Ma Yun.”