Alibaba’s Jack Ma To Retire To Focus on Philanthropy

Yolanda Curtis
September 8, 2018

Ma, who gave up the title of CEO in 2013, said he now planned to devote his time and fortune to education.

He will remain on Alibaba's board of directors but focus on philanthropy in education, the newspaper said.

Over the course of his tenure, Ma has also become China's richest man with a net worth of more than $40 billion. His birthday also coincides with a the Chinese holiday of Teacher's Day, which celebrates educators.

Ma's retirement makes him one of the first founders of a generation of Chinese internet entrepreneurs to step down.

"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.

Ma said he could never be as rich as Gates - but that he could retire earlier than Gates. He started Alibaba from his flat in Hangzhou with a group of friends.

Alibaba's growth and Ma's wealth track changes in modern China, in which a burgeoning urban middle class has more money to spend while authorities allowed large accumulations of wealth, especially when connected to forward-thinking enterprises.

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.

Ma is retiring as China's business environment has soured, with Beijing and state-owned enterprises increasingly playing more interventionist roles with companies.

Among China's biggest companies, Alibaba is viewed as one of the firms with the deepest ranks of management talent. Initially developed as a business-to-business e-commerce solution. It was founded by 18 people, led by Ma, and now has more than 66,000 full-time employees, according to the company's latest annual filing.

Notably, while Ma had stepped down as the Alibaba CEO nearly eight years back, he remained the face of the company at top political and business events and he played an important role in devising the company's long term strategy.

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