Published: Sat, September 08, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Wayne Curry

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

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

Mr Ma began his professional life teaching English at a university in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, in eastern Zhejiang province. The e-commerce company has a total market value of about $420 billion as of Friday's close. While Ma sees himself as an accidental executive who only entered the business world with Alibaba's founding nearly 20 years ago, he has become one of China's most recognized corporate leaders.

"When Jack Ma speaks longingly of retirement from Alibaba, there's no reason not to take him at his word", said Silvers.

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. His birthday also coincides with a the Chinese holiday of Teacher's Day, which celebrates educators.

"I'm sure he'll be just as involved as he has been in his chairman role, even if he doesn't have the formal title", said Carter.

Huge conglomerates like Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and JD.com are to China what Facebook and Google are to the United States.

"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.

If he were to leave the company he founded in a Hangzhou apartment, it would remain controlled by the partnership structure, which enables a group of executives at Alibaba and affiliates to decide on board nominations.

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Shares dropped more than 2 percent following the report of Ma's impending retirement. "This is something I think I can do much better than being CEO of Alibaba".

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma is China's third richest person with a net worth of $36.6 billion.

He started Alibaba.com in 1999 as a business-to-business marketplace, backed by $60,000 from 18 co-founders.

He retired as Alibaba's chief executive in 2013, eventually handing the reins to his protege Daniel Zhang, but he remained active within the company, providing strategic direction as chairman.

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 could never be as rich as Gates - but that he could retire earlier than Gates.

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