Friday, 16 November, 2018

Alibaba founder Jack Ma retiring to focus on philanthropy and education

Screenshot via Bloomberg Screenshot via Bloomberg
Lloyd Bates | 08 September, 2018, 19:15

Nearly two decades later, Alibaba is an internet juggernaut and Ma is among the world's richest men, with a net worth of more than $40 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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 Times said that in an interview, Ma said he planned to step down as executive chairman on Monday to pursue philanthropy in education. However, he will remain on Alibaba's board of directors and mentor the company's management. He is the first among a generation of Chinese internet entrepreneurs to leave the companies they've founded.

In an interview, Ma said his retirement is not the end of an era but "the beginning of an era". "I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier", he said.

"It doesn't matter how big or small your contribution is, and it doesn't mean you have to do something big or be someone important to do philanthropy", Ma Said recently at Alibaba's conference on philanthropy, in Hangzhou.

Ma, who turns 54 on Monday, oversees a number of charitable projects in education and environmental fields. Under President Xi Jinping, China's internet industry has grown and become more important, prompting the government to tighten its leash.

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Jack Ma, one of the richest people in China, is getting ready to quit his job as chairman of Alibaba.

When the stock market closed on Friday, it was worth $420.8bn (£325bn).

The succession plans come at a tricky time for Chinese tech firms. The Chinese government has increasingly sought to regulate the industry where Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd are fighting a fierce competition for the country's consumers.

Trade tensions also present a new challenge for Chinese tech firms, especially those like Alibaba which are expanding overseas rapidly.

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 a year ago, and starring in his own kung fu short film.

Ma's decision also comes as US police investigate an allegation of rape against Richard Liu, head of e-commerce rival JD.com Inc (JD.O), which has hammered its shares. Liu Qiangdong, the billionaire founder of online retailer JD.com, was arrested on rape charges last week on a business trip to Minneapolis.

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