Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire

Jack Ma will retire as chairman of Alibaba on Monday. File Jack Ma will retire as chairman of Alibaba on Monday. File
Lori Graves | 08 September, 2018, 13:12

Ma stepped down as Alibaba's chief executive in 2013; the company's current chief executive is Daniel Zhang, who is a candidate to succeed Ma.

He will remain on Alibaba's board of directors but focus on philanthropy in education, the newspaper said.

Ma told The New York Times that he plans to step down from the company on Monday - his 54th birthday - referring to his departure as "the beginning of an era" rather than an end.

Mr Ma began his professional life teaching English at a university in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, in eastern Zhejiang province.

Earlier Friday, Ma said he could "retire earlier" during a conversation with Bloomberg about Bill Gates' career.

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Alibaba started as a business-to-business marketplace, but had enormous growth when it started selling to consumers. Ma also controls Ant Financial, the online financial platform that runs China's largest mobile payment system and money-market fund. But he has also said in the past that he isn't happy being the wealthiest person in China, where vast personal fortunes have only emerged in recent years and are subject to intense scrutiny.

He is one of the most colorful of China's growing crop of billionaires, performing a Michael Jackson-inspired dance routine at the company's 18th anniversary celebration past year, and starring in his own kung fu short film.

Notably, while Ma had stepped down as the Alibaba CEO nearly eight years back, he remained the face of the company at top political and business events and he played an important role in devising the company's long term strategy. Alibaba later rolled out Alipay, an online payment service, to facilitate transactions in a country where few people had credit cards.

He has inspired strong devotion among his employees and users, drawing comparisons with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs - although he practices a more open management style. He cited Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates as an example.

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