Daniel Zhang

For months, Daniel Zhang huddled with a small team in an underground garage in Shanghai. The chief executive of Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. was working on a secret plan that would sound crazy even to many of his own colleagues 100 miles away in Hangzhou. Zhang wanted to launch a start-up inside the e-commerce giant that would combine a grocery store, a restaurant, and a delivery app, using robotics and facial recognition to speed up logistics and payment. That project, Freshippo, has since become a major part of Zhang’s blueprint for Alibaba’s future, with 150 stores (and counting) across 17 Chinese cities.”

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