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Jack Ma's successor created Alibaba's 'Singles' Day'

Inventor of version of Black Friday to navigate 'new retail' age

As chief executive since 2015, Daniel Zhang, born in 1972 in Shanghai, has been running the day-to-day operations as well as making business deals.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Both within China and overseas, Daniel Zhang Yong has made a name for himself in the business world as the organizer of Alibaba Group Holding's blockbuster annual sales event, the Nov. 11 Singles' Day shopping festival that now dwarfs the combined receipts of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in the U.S.

Zhang is now set for a much higher public profile with the announcement by Alibaba founder Jack Ma Yun that he will hand over the chairmanship of the company to Zhang in a year's time. Ma already yielded the role of chief executive in 2013, but has remained Alibaba's public face until now.

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