Published: Sat, September 08, 2018
Tech | By Tabitha Holland

Alibaba's co-founder Jack Ma to retire on September 10

Alibaba's co-founder Jack Ma to retire on September 10

He will remain on Alibaba's board of directors.

In an exclusive New York Times interview, the Chinese billionaire said on Friday that his retirement was not the end of an era but "the beginning of an era".

Earlier Friday, Ma said he could "retire earlier" during a conversation with Bloomberg about Bill Gates' career. "This is something I think I can do much better than being CEO of Alibaba".

It remains unclear whether Alibaba will appoint a new chairman after Ma formally retires from the company on Monday.

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 will also speak at the company's investor's day in mid September.

Alibaba transformed how the Chinese people shop and make purchases, and made Ma the richest man in the world's most populous country.

In terms of the impact on the Chinese market and various business sectors, Duncan Clark, author of the book Alibaba: The House Jack Ma Built, explained:"He's a symbol of the health of China's private sector and how high they can fly whether he likes it or not". "On a day-to-day basis, Alibaba shareholders probably have little to fear should the charismatic Ma pull back a bit further". It's the world's biggest e-commerce company by total value of the merchandise sold across its platforms, which include Taobao and TMall. He added that he would be spending more of his time and fortune focussed on education.

Shares dropped more than 2 percent following the report of Ma's impending retirement.

As Beijing has increased its involvement in the private sector, Ma has shifted what he has said about China's government.

On one hand, Chinese tech companies are facing increased scrutiny by the Chinese government led by President Xi Jinping, on the other hand, the tech firms are caught in an escalating trade war between the USA and China.

"I'm sure he'll be just as involved as he has been in his chairman role, even if he doesn't have the formal title", said Carter.

In 2014, he created the Jack Ma Foundation, which has worked to improve education in rural China. Apart from e-commerce, Alibaba also handles digital payments, online banking, cloud computing and digital media and entertainment, reported CNET.

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