Alibaba founder Jack Ma announces retirement

Posted September 08, 2018

Ma's departure is sure to leave an impression, perhaps one that is larger than the one he made during the years he led Alibaba.

Even after stepping down as chief executive officer in 2013, the former English teacher remains the public face of a company with a market value of more than US$400 billion and interests spanning e-commerce and Hollywood film production to cloud computing and online payments.

"The first time I used the internet, I touched on the keyboard and I find 'well, this is something I believe, it is something that is going to change the world and change China", Mr Ma once said in an interview. Adding that he loves education, Jack Ma said that after stepping down his focus will be on education. He is a cult figure in China's internet industry and has attracted a large following among entrepreneurs and in pop culture alike.

Alibaba Group is a Chinese multinational holding conglomerate specialising in e-commerce, retail, Internet, AI and technology.

Ma will announce the plan on his 54th birthday and the handover strategy will stretch over a significant period of time, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper reported citing a company spokesman.

Ma is retiring as China's business environment has soured, with Beijing and state-owned enterprises increasingly playing more interventionist roles with companies.

Alibaba has been referred to as the Amazon of China. Firms including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and JD.com have flourished in recent years, growing to almost rival American internet behemoths like Amazon and Google in their size, scope and ambition.

China's richest man Jack Ma will retire on Monday

Liu was arrested and then released without charge in the US city of Minneapolis last week.

He started Alibaba from his flat in Hangzhou with a group of friends.

Succession planning for a company barely out of its teens underscores its founders' commitment of handing down a corporate structure that can outlast them.

Earlier this year regulators shot down a $1.2-billion bid for money transfer service Moneygram International Inc by Ant Financial on national security grounds, which the company said was related to "geopolitical" changes.

Ma has long shown an admiration for Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who has donated vast amounts of his wealth to philanthropic causes.

As Alibaba has flourished, Ma has talked many times about how he did not want to spend his whole life at the company, saying he would retire one day and go back to teaching.

In an interview earlier this week, Ma had signaled that he was thinking about focusing more on philanthropy.

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