Jack Ma Officially Retires as Alibaba Chairman

Andrew Cummings
September 10, 2019

Jack Ma is now officially stepping down as Alibaba's chairman, leaving the position $41.8 billion richer than when he came in.

In a move first announced previous year, Ma is handing over the reins to current CEO Daniel Zhang, who now faces the hard task of steering Asia's most valuable listed firm at a time when growth in its core e-commerce sector has slowed significantly, China's economy is faltering and trade tensions are on the rise.

However, Ma will not cut all ties with the company he turned into a $462 billion e-commerce giant from its modest beginnings as a small start-up in his apartment in Hangzhou. It is now a $460 billion behemoth, with most of its income coming from within mainland China.

Ma also told attendees that he hoped to see Alibaba shoulder more responsibility to improve society amid the sweeping changes brought about by technologies like big data and 5G. He's celebrating his retirement with a big bash at an Olympic-sized stadium in the company's hometown of Hangzhou.

Ma stepped down Tuesday as part of a succession announced a year earlier. He will remain on the company's board until 2020 and will stay on as a lifetime partner.

Alibaba Pictures is still majority-controlled by its parent group despite its own listings in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Ma announced a year ago that he would be stepping down as Alibaba's chairman on September 10, 2019.

The company also said on Tuesday that it had adopted six new core values, among which one was a pledge to "respect the work-life balance decisions of every individual", marking a step away from Ma's recent comments urging tech company employees to work nights and weekends, which sparked a nationwide debate.

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