Nearly 20 years after he founded Alibaba, the Amazon of China, Executive Chairman Jack Ma plans to retire to focus on philanthropy, according to a report. Ma will provide transition plans over a significant period of time, the spokesman was quoted as saying, adding that the succession strategy is part of a management plan 10 years in the making.
Jack Ma will step down from his role on Monday - his 54th birthday - and plans to devote his time to philanthropy and education.
Ma is following a similar path as Bill Gates, who has dedicated himself to philanthropy after retirement, and has cited Microsoft's co-founder as an inspiration in an interview with Bloomberg TV recently.
He said: "There's a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates". The Chinese economy is also facing slowing growth and increasing debt, and the country is embroiled in an escalating trade war with the United States.
China's richest man, Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, has announced his retirement. Ma's net worth is $39.9 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index. 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.
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A former English teacher before establishing Alibaba with 17 partners, Ma is known by colleagues as "Teacher Ma". On one hand, Chinese tech companies are facing increased scrutiny by the Chinese government led by President Xi Jinping, on the other hand, the tech firms are caught in an escalating trade war between the USA and China.
Although he was no longer in charge of the day-to-day running of the company, Ma continued to be Alibaba's guiding hand and its most recognized face.
"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.
The way he chose to make the announcement was unusual. "This is something I think I can do much better than being CEO of Alibaba".
After being knocked back by United States venture capitalists in 1999, a cash-strapped Ma persuaded friends to give him $60,000 to start Alibaba, which operated out of an apartment in Hangzhou. Seeing an opportunity for small businesses to buy and sell their goods online, he started Alibaba in 1999, initially running the company out of his apartment in the eastern city of Hangzhou.