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

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

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

It remains unclear whether Alibaba will appoint a new chairman after Ma formally retires from the company on Monday.

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. He founded the Jack Ma Foundation, a philanthropic organisation devoted to education, in 2014.

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

The 54-year-old, who was once an English teacher and is now worth more than $40 billion, began the e-commerce company Alibaba in 1999 and grew it from humble origins into a $420-billion business that has become key in how Chinese buy and sell goods.

As per a Reuters report, while Ma's retirement marks a milestone in the company's history, analysts believe and industry insiders believe that it is highly unlikely that his involvement in the company will change significantly.

While Ma's plan to gradually step back is a milestone, analysts and industry professionals said it was unlikely his involvement would change significantly.

Ma is retiring as China's business environment has soured, with Beijing and state-owned enterprises increasingly playing more interventionist roles with companies. The Chinese economy is also facing slowing growth and increasing debt, and the country is embroiled in an escalating trade war with the United States. Firms including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and JD.com have flourished in recent years, growing to almost rival American internet behemoths like Amazon and Google in their size, scope and ambition.

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Ma also controls Ant Financial, the online financial platform that runs China's largest mobile payment system and money-market fund.

Liu was arrested and released without charge in the USA city of Minneapolis last week.

As he prepares to leave the company, Ma is among China's super-rich.

He is one of the most colourful of China's growing crop of billionaires, performing a Michael Jackson-inspired dance routine at the company's 18th anniversary celebration previous year, and starring in his own kung fu short film.

The move mirrors that of Bill Gates before he left Microsoft.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV this week, Ma signalled he was thinking about focusing more on philanthropy.

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