Published: Sat, September 08, 2018
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

China's richest man Jack Ma to stand down from Alibaba

China's richest man Jack Ma to stand down from Alibaba

Ma started his journey with just USA $ 60,000 - loaned to him by friends, and started Alibaba in 1999.

The Times said that in an interview, Ma said he planned to step down as executive chairman on Monday to pursue philanthropy in education.

"This is something I think I can do much better than being CEO of Alibaba", he told Bloomberg TV recently. "He stepped back from the CEO role about four or five years ago and very specifically made a comment about wanting the younger people to lead the company", said Kevin Carter, founder of The Emerging Markets Internet exchange-trade fund.

His retirement would mark "the beginning of an era" for him, one in which he could concentrate on charitable activities in education, a field close to his heart, he said in the interview.

Ma is one of China's wealthiest men, with his net worth estimated at US$40 billion by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Alibaba has more than 86,000 employees on staff. Initially developed as a business-to-business e-commerce solution.

Although he was no longer in charge of the day-to-day running of the company, Ma continued to be Alibaba's guiding hand and its most recognized face.

Ma is the first of his generation of superwealthy tech CEOs to retire, an unusual move in a country where successful business leaders often run their empires well into their 80s - Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing only retired in May at the age of 89.

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.

The day Jack Ma will be stepping down, September 10, is also celebrated as Teacher's Day in China.

It's not clear exactly when Ma will leave Alibaba.

The company's value has soared in recent years thanks to a growing portfolio that includes cloud computing, films, electronic payments and retail.

Chinese state media have burnished his rags-to-riches story, saying his parents were poorly educated and his father depended on a monthly retirement allowance of just $40 to support the family. One of those is entertainment, through its Alibaba Pictures arm, which owns a stake in Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, and through its hugely popular movie-ticket sales app, Tao Piao Piao.

The departure of Ma is likely to jolt China's internet industry, which has been reeling from the arrest last weekend of Liu Qiangdong, the billionaire founder of the online retailer JD.com.

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