Published: Sat, September 08, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Alibaba’s Jack Ma to Step Down as Executive Chairman

Alibaba’s Jack Ma to Step Down as Executive Chairman

His own worth has soared along with that of the company, which was valued at US$420.8 billion based on its share price at the close of trading on Friday.

Alibaba co-founder and chief Jack Ma announced on September 7, 2018 he will leave from the Chinese e-commerce giant on Monday.

Over the course of his tenure at Alibaba, Ma became China's richest man, earning a net worth of more than $40 billion.

The charismatic Ma told the Times that he plans to retire on Monday, at the age of 54, saying this marks "the beginning of a new era".

He has told the New York Times that he will now focus on philanthropy in education.

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"A physical Alibaba headquarters is a key step in ensuring Australian businesses have the support and information they need to succeed in China and the rest of the world", Zhou said at the time. However, in contrast to the American magnate, he wants to "retire earlier".

Seeing an opportunity for small businesses to buy and sell their goods online, he started Alibaba, initially running the company out of his apartment in the eastern city of Hangzhou, where the company's headquarters remains.

Alibaba's growth and Ma's wealth track changes in modern China, in which a burgeoning urban middle class has more money to spend while authorities allowed large accumulations of wealth, especially when connected to forward-thinking enterprises. 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. His departure is a sign of confidence in current management as the business evolves by expanding beyond e-commerce to include digital payments, cloud computing and the production of big-budget movies.

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.

"People in China and America, one thing we have in common is the heart of love and respect", Ma said. He cited Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates as an example.

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