Monday, 24 September, 2018

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire from company

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire China's richest man Jack Ma will retire on Monday
| 08 September, 2018, 16:09

Talking exclusively to The New York Times, Jack Ma said that his retirement will mark the beginning of a new era. Initially developed as a business-to-business e-commerce solution.

A former English teacher, Ma co-founded Alibaba with 17 others out of his apartment in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in 1999. The company had a market value of around $420 billion as of Friday. Alibaba has more than 86,000 employees on staff. He turns 54 on Monday, which is a holiday in China known as Teacher's Day, reported AFP.

Alibaba has one of the strongest management teams in corporate China and even if he steps down, Ma is likely still to have a role in setting top-level strategy, says Brock Silvers, MD of Kaiyuan Capital.

Ma's announcement was somewhat unorthodox; the Times is blocked in China by Communist Party censors, while there was no official statement from Alibaba.

"He's a symbol of the health of China's private sector and how high they can fly whether he likes it or not", Duncan Clark, author of the book "Alibaba: The House Jack Ma Built", said of Ma.

He said: "There's a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates".

While Alibaba has become dominant in China, it has faced a tougher time expanding internationally.


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. He said the reason he's leaving is to pursue philanthropic endeavors focused on education.

Alibaba group founder and CEO, Jack Ma.

Ma's net worth is $39.9 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index. He was released and returned to China, although the investigation remains active.

While Ma has been serving as Alibaba's executive chairman after handing the CEO title to David Zhang in 2013, the New York Times reports that Zhang is a candidate to take over his chairman duties.

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.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV this week, Ma signalled he was thinking about focusing more on philanthropy. "I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier", Ma said.

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