How do you celebrate the largest tech IPO in history? In Alibaba Group’s case, with a high-brow bash at one of Manhattan’s classiest event spaces, Cipriani 42nd Street.
On Friday evening, a couple of hundred attendees came to fete the Chinese e-commerce giant, which raised $21.8 billion in its blockbuster IPO. Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma was clearly the star of the show, descending from the stage after his welcome speech only to be surrounded by a gaggle of suits that gave the scene more of a feel of a Wall Street soiree than a tech gathering. Guests included Alibaba vice chairman Joe Tsai, JPMorgan Chase vice chairman Jimmy Lee, Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget and venture capitalist Jim Breyer.
Re/code arrived about an hour into the party and captured the event with photos, video and audio. Here’s what we saw.
Alibaba’s corporate color was on display as guests checked in:
A giant placard highlighting the company’s beliefs greeted guests as they entered the party:
A huge bar in the center of the room was a popular gathering spot. Red wine and margaritas flowed freely:
Guests also stopped to gaze at this Alibaba statue, meant to resemble the mascot of Alibaba’s Taobao online marketplace. The company gave a similar one to the New York Stock Exchange on Friday morning, where it will remain on permanent display:
Shortly after 6 pm, JPMorgan’s Lee gave the welcome speech to Ma, now the richest man in China. “When I think of Jack, I think open, honest, truth-telling,” he said. JPMorgan was one of five underwriters on the IPO, and one rumor of the night was that the investment bank had paid for the party. Lee denied it, telling me in a raised voice, “Us pay for this? No way!”:
Alibaba vice chairman Joe Tsai listened intently, between sips of what appeared to be red wine:
After a short introduction, Ma took the stage in a black suit and navy, button-down shirt. He was all smiles:
In this short video clip, Ma explains how luck played a big role in Alibaba’s success:
You can listen to Ma’s full seven-minute speech, after a short introduction by Lee, in the audio file below. The 50-year-old former schoolteacher focused a lot on his mission to help small businesses, urging attendees to, “Do anything we can to help the small business. Small is powerful. Small is beautiful.”
Ma was quickly surrounded by guests after stepping down from the stage. Many asked for photos. One even asked Ma to sign a sports jersey. He obliged:
Then, it was time to eat. The beef tenderloin appetizers were superb. I had at least five:
The shrimp were really good, too:
According to a worker, the oysters were a hit. The clams? Not so much:
By 8 pm, most of the crowd, including Ma, cleared out. But JPMorgan’s Lee was still holding court near the bar:
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.