Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire

Anna Jefferson
September 8, 2018

Alibaba declined to comment but pointed toward the SCMP story when asked about Ma's plans.

Ma has been backing away from Alibaba over the past few years, stepping down as chief executive officer in 2013 but remaining very involved in the company's strategic planning, according to the Times.

Talking exclusively to The New York Times, Jack Ma said that his retirement will mark the beginning of a new era. However, the Chinese billionaire will still remain on Alibaba's board of directors.

Xi has tightened control over businesses, especially ones that allow people to communicate over the Internet, and gone after billionaires who have mismanaged companies, allegedly committed crimes, such as bribery, or run afoul of Chinese politics. Morley brought young Ma to Australia in 1985 for his first overseas trip, when he spent almost a month in Newcastle, an experience which the Chinese businessman said had "totally changed my future". He added that he would be spending more of his time and fortune focussed on education. Ma even believes that he can "do much better" at teaching than he did as CEO of Alibaba.

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He persuaded friends to give him $60,000 to start Alibaba, which initially operated out of an apartment.

Ma, who turns 54 on Monday, oversees a number of charitable projects in education and environmental fields. He is a cult figure in China's internet industry and has attracted a large following among entrepreneurs and in pop culture alike.

Ma maintains a prominent worldwide profile, frequently inviting global leaders to the company's Hangzhou headquarters. A year ago he met with US President Donald Trump, who described him as "smart" and "open minded".

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. It's the world's biggest e-commerce company by total value of the merchandise sold across its platforms, which include Taobao and TMall.

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Ma's retirement comes at an tough time for the Chinese tech industry.

Ma's Bloomberg interview came as shares of China's second-largest e-commerce company, JD.com, plummeted as its CEO Li Qiangdong was arrested in the U.S. over an accusation of rape.

This year, regulators shot down a $1.2 billion bid for money transfer service Moneygram International Inc (MG.O) by Ant Financial on national security grounds, which the company said was related to "geopolitical" changes.

Liu was arrested and then released without charge in the USA city of Minneapolis last week.

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