Published: Sat, September 08, 2018
Industry | By Johnnie Johnson

Why Jack Ma is retiring at 54 from Alibaba

Why Jack Ma is retiring at 54 from Alibaba

The co-founder of $420the billion internet company, Jack Ma, has announced that he will be retiring from Alibaba on Monday.

While Ma has been serving as Alibaba's executive chairman after handing the CEO title to David Zhang in 2013, the New York Times reports that Zhang is a candidate to take over his chairman duties.

China's richest man is going step down as executive chairman of the $420-billion Alibaba Group on Monday when he turns 54, he said in an interview with the NYT.

In 1999, Jack Ma along with 17 others had founded Alibaba in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

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Mr Ma told the New York Times that his decision to stand down was not the end of an era but "the beginning of an era" and that he "loved" education. He added that he would be spending more of his time and fortune focussed on education.

In 2014, he created the Jack Ma Foundation, which has worked to improve education in rural China. "All these things that I've been preparing for 10 years".

Ma is the first of his generation of uber-wealthy tech bosses to retire, a rare move in a country where business figures often run their empires well into their 80s - Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing only retired in May at the age of 89.

After being knocked back by U.S. venture capitalists in 1999, a cash-strapped Ma persuaded friends to give him $60,000 to start Alibaba, which operated out of an apartment in Hangzhou.

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Ma's success was evident after Alibaba's Taobao bested eBay in China, forcing the USA auction site to largely withdraw from the country in 2006. Ma's Weibo social media handle is "spokesman for village teachers - Jack Ma". He is referred to as "Teacher Ma" within Alibaba.

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

Earlier Friday, Ma said he could "retire earlier" during a conversation with Bloomberg about Bill Gates' career. He cited Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates as an example.

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