Jack Ma plans to step down from Alibaba on Monday

Joshua Bennett
September 8, 2018

This will be a big change of guard for the $420 billion dollar Chinese internet company. The Chinese billionaire who had randomly announced his retirement added that he will continue to mentor Alibaba's management.

China's richest man said that he would remain on Alibaba's board of directors as he pursues philanthropic endeavours, the New York Times reported.

Ma told The New York Times that he plans to step down from the company on Monday - his 54th birthday - referring to his departure as "the beginning of an era" rather than an end.

He was an English teacher before starting Alibaba in 1999 and he founded Alibaba alongside 17 other people.

Ma told The New York Times that he will retire September 10 and focus on philanthropic efforts in education. He said he would be spending more of his time and fortune focused on education.

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

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.

Ma's success was evident after Alibaba's Taobao bested eBay in China, forcing the United States auction site to largely withdraw from the country in 2006.

Earlier this week, Mr Ma told Bloomberg TV that he wanted to create a personal foundation, following in the footsteps of Microsoft's Bill Gates. 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.

He is one of the most colorful of China's growing crop of billionaires, performing a Michael Jackson-inspired dance routine at the company's 18th anniversary celebration past year, and starring in his own kung fu short film.

Ma, 53, is also China's wealthiest individual. According to Chinese media outlets, he belongs to a family which used to get just USA $ 40 each month to take care of its needs.Yet, Ma managed to graduate from Hangzhou Teachers College with a major in English-language education.

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