JACKSON MA

Jack Ma just celebrated Alibaba’s birthday with a Michael Jackson-inspired dance number

Alibaba founder Jack Ma is known for his showmanship. But over the weekend he paid an especially ambitious tribute to the ultimate showman—Michael Jackson.

On Sept. 8, at the party commemorating Alibaba’s 18th birthday, the Chinese e-commerce mogul performed an elaborate dance number inspired by the king of pop himself. After arriving on stage in a motorcycle and donning a black-and-gold mask, Ma waved his hands and proceeded to move to the beat of Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” crotch thrusts and all.

After removing his disguise, Ma invited others on stage (presumably Alibaba executives), and the group proceeded to clap to the tune of Jackson’s “Black or White.”

Ma is a fan of theatrics. In his frequent public appearances, he routinely woos crowds with Yoda-esque entrepreneurial wisdom and tales of his grim career prospects pre-Alibaba. He has played dress-up before, too. In 2009, at the company’s 10th anniversary, he donned a heavy metal wig and performed parts of “The Lion King” in front of thousands of employees.

Ma has a reason to celebrate his company’s 18th birthday in style. The company’s stock has endured a rally since January 2017, and its valuation recently passed the $400 billion mark—putting it just a short distance behind Amazon.

Ma isn’t the only executive at a Chinese company to work a song-and-dance routine. At a 2014 launch event in Taipei, former Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra danced to a classic tune by Taiwanese pop icon Wu Bai.

Barra left Xiaomi in 2017. Upon his departure, he said in a statement, “What I’ve realized is that the last few years of living in such a singular environment have taken a huge toll on my life and started affecting my health.”

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