Industry

Jack Ma, Alibaba co-founder and China’s richest man, announces retirement

Jack Ma, Alibaba co-founder and China’s richest man, announces retirement

Nearly two decades later, Alibaba is an internet juggernaut and Ma is among the world's richest men, with a net worth of more than $40 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. According to the paper current CEO Daniel Zhang is a "candidate" to replace Ma, who plans to pursue philanthropy in education.

Ma will remain on the company's board of directors and continue to mentor Alibaba employees, according to the New York Times. Jack Ma is now China's richest man though he has said that he will be focussing his time and money on education now.

The day Jack Ma will be stepping down, September 10, is also celebrated as Teacher's Day in China.

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

Ma said the move will be "the beginning of an era" and revealed that he may now focus on education, which he "loves". "I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier", he said. He started Alibaba.com in 1999 as a business-to-business marketplace, backed by $60,000 from 18 co-founders. Ma also controls Ant Financial, the online financial platform that runs China's largest mobile payment system and money-market fund.

It transformed how Chinese people shop and pay for things, especially through the now ubiquitous Alipay digital payment service. The company owns or holds stakes in some of China's most important media assets, including the Twitter-like social media site Weibo and the Hong Kong-based English-language newspaper The South China Morning Post.

Ma's success was evident after Alibaba's Taobao bested eBay in China, forcing the US auction site to largely withdraw from the country in 2006.

Among China's biggest companies, Alibaba is viewed as one of the firms with the deepest ranks of management talent.

Earlier this week, Mr Ma told Bloomberg TV that he wanted to create a personal foundation, following in the footsteps of Microsoft's Bill Gates.


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