Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire from company

08 September, 2018, 13:15 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire

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.

Ma was quoted as telling the paper he would step down on September 10 to pursue philanthropy in education. However, he will remain on Alibaba's board of directors and mentor the company's management.

Ma told The New York Times that he plans to step down from the company, referring to his retirement as "the beginning of an era" rather than an end. Adding that he loves education, Jack Ma said that after stepping down his focus will be on education.

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

After being knocked back by United States 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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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. The company owns or holds stakes in some of China's most important media assets, including the Twitter-like social media site Weibo and the Hong Kong-based English-language newspaper The South China Morning Post.

Ma, 53, is also China's wealthiest individual.

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.

Alibaba said it couldn't immediately comment on the timing of Ma's retirement. It was founded by 18 people, led by Ma, and now has more than 66,000 full-time employees, according to the company's latest annual filing.

"This is something I think I can do much better than being CEO of Alibaba", he told Bloomberg TV recently. He cited Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates as an example.

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