Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma announces retirement

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma announces retirement

Expressing his love for education, Jack Ma said that he will be spending most of his time and fortune to focus on education.

As he prepares to leave the company, Mr. Ma is among China's richest men with a net worth estimated by Forbes at $38.6 billion. "I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier", he said.

Ma ended his time as chief executive officer in 2013, but has remained chairman and the public face of the company, which now has a market value of more than $400 billion. "I think some day, and soon, I'll go back to teaching". Ma also controls Ant Financial, the online financial platform that runs China's largest mobile payment system and money-market fund.

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

In an interview with the Times, former English teacher Mr Ma said retirement would not be the end of an era but "the beginning of an era", adding: "I love education".

Ma, a natural salesman and charismatic leader, co-founded Alibaba with 17 others - some of them his students - out of his apartment in Hangzhou in eastern Zhejiang province in 1999.

After being knocked back by USA venture capitalists in 1999, cash-strapped Chinese entrepreneur Ma persuaded friends to give him $60,000 to start an e-commerce firm called Alibaba.

Alibaba started as a business-to-business marketplace, but had enormous growth when it started selling to consumers.

He is one of the most colourful of China's growing crop of billionaires, performing a Michael Jackson-inspired dance routine at the company's 18th anniversary celebration previous year, and starring in his own kung fu short film. Alibaba later rolled out Alipay, an online payment service, to facilitate transactions in a country where few people had credit cards. 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.

Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma makes a speech at 2018 Alibaba Xin Philanthropy Conference on September 5, 2018.

Ma has long shown an admiration for Microsoft founder Bill Gates who has donated vast amounts of his wealth to philanthropic causes.



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