Published: Sat, September 08, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Preston Stone

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire, focus on philanthropy

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire, focus on philanthropy

In a yet-to-be published interview with The New York Times, Ma said he would step down Monday - his 54th birthday - as executive chairman of the company that he helped found in 1999 and that has become a digital behemoth in the world's most populous country.

His retirement would mark "the beginning of an era" for him, one in which he could concentrate on charitable activities in education, a field close to his heart, he said in the interview.

Its customers use its e-commerce platforms to order products that past year led to package reaching 55-million a day.

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

Mr Ma began his professional life teaching English at a university in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, in eastern Zhejiang province. "On a day-to-day basis, Alibaba shareholders probably have little to fear should the charismatic Ma pull back a bit further".

Considered China's richest person, the e-commerce company's co-founder holds a spot in the world's top twenty billionaires in the world with a reported net worth of $39.9 billion.

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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. But Ma on Thursday told Bloomberg TV that he was mulling an early retirement similar to Bill Gates' early exit from Microsoft.

He has told the New York Times that he will now focus on philanthropy in education. He co-founded the Chinese internet retailer in 1999 and built it into an empire now worth $420 billion and making the former English teacher China's richest man worth about $40 billion. "This is something I think I can do much better than being CEO of Alibaba". In China, it's also a holiday known as "Teacher's Day". He said the reason he's leaving is to pursue philanthropic endeavors focused on education.

"I've prepared a Jack Ma Foundation. I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier", Ma said.

Ma is retiring as China's business environment has soured, with Beijing and state-owned enterprises increasingly playing more interventionist roles with companies. "It should be a war against poverty, disease et cetera".

"It's the system which I think I have contributed to along with my team and this will be able to make the company last long", Ma said.

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