Sci-tech

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire from company

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire from company”

Jack Ma plans to step down as executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba next week, according to a report published late Friday.

Jack Ma, the iconic Chinese entrepreneur, is making plans for a future after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the company he co-founded and turned into Asia's most valuable company. Ma established the Jack Ma Foundation in 2014, which fosters education for those in rural China, and has professed his love of education.

Ma, who turns 54 on Monday, has a net worth of more than US$40 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Ma said he could never be as rich as Gates - but that he could retire earlier than Gates.

Ma is retiring as China's business environment has soured, with Beijing and state-owned enterprises increasingly playing more interventionist roles with companies. A former teacher, Ma told Bloomberg TV earlier this week he might go back to teaching someday. 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. He said the reason he's leaving is to pursue philanthropic endeavors focused on education.

He said that his departure is not the end but "the beginning of an era".

Among China's biggest companies, Alibaba is viewed as one of the firms with the deepest ranks of management talent.

Born into a poor family in Hangzhou, eastern Zhejiang province, Mr. Ma became a university teacher but gave the job up after discovering the internet.

Ma started his journey with just USA $ 60,000 - loaned to him by friends, and started Alibaba in 1999. But he has also said in the past that he isn't happy being the wealthiest person in China, where vast personal fortunes have only emerged in recent years and are subject to intense scrutiny.

It transformed how Chinese people shop and pay for things, especially through the now ubiquitous Alipay digital payment service.

It owns a stake in China's hugely popular Twitter-like Weibo platform and in 2015 it bought the South China Morning Post newspaper. He started Alibaba.com in 1999 as a business-to-business marketplace, backed by $60,000 from 18 co-founders.



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