Jack Ma, China's Richest Man, to Retire as Executive Chair of E-Commerce Giant Alibaba
08 September, 2018, 16:08
Ma said the move will be "the beginning of an era" and revealed that he may now focus on education, which he "loves".
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.
Ma started Alibaba in 1999 in his apartment in the Chinese city of Hangzhou and is now among the richest people in the world. The company had a market value of around $420 billion as of Friday.
Shares of Alibaba fell more than two per cent in after-hours trading on reports of his retirement.
Ma is a man "who deftly maneuvered through the discontinuities and barriers in China to create one of the greatest companies in the world", as Tim Draper, founder of Draper Associates, DFJ, and Draper University said. Yet Ma had remained active as the face of the e-commerce firm, as well as an architect of its long-term strategy. A former teacher, Ma told Bloomberg TV earlier this week he might go back to teaching someday.
In an interview with the New York Times Ma said he would step down on September 10 to pursue educational charity work.
"There are a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates".
Huge conglomerates like Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and JD.com are to China what Facebook and Google are to the United States.
"A physical Alibaba headquarters is a key step in ensuring Australian businesses have the support and information they need to succeed in China and the rest of the world", Zhou said at the time.
While Ma's retirement from a formal role is a milestone, analysts and industry professionals say it is unlikely Ma's involvement will change significantly.
Though he will no longer be involved in the day-to-day operations of the company, Ma will continue to serve on Alibaba's board where he will offer his input about the future financial direction of the company.
Ma, who turns 54 on Monday, has a net worth of more than US$40 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
He is referred to as "Teacher Ma" within Alibaba.
"I don't think it means that much, frankly". 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.
The Alibaba empire now spans well beyond online retail and payments to include cloud computing, digital media and entertainment, with sterling revenue growth that jumped another 61 percent in the quarter ending June 30.
Ma said he sees himself as an accidental executive.
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