How a visit to Australia helped Jack Ma become an internet tycoon
08 September, 2018, 16:09 | Author: Kristen Mcgee
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's (BABA.N) co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma will retire from the e-commerce company on Monday, as the former English teacher seeks to focus on philanthropy in education, the New York Times reported. The Hangzhou-based company, which began as an e-commerce marketplace founded with US$60,000, has taken less than two decades to expand into a US$420 billion juggernaut in online shopping, cashless payments, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and even Hollywood movies.
He retired as Alibaba's chief executive in 2013, eventually handing the reins to his protege Daniel Zhang, but he remained active within the company, providing strategic direction as chairman. Monday is his 54th birthday, and the Chinese holiday Teacher's Day, making the announcement particularly timely.
Ma is retiring as China's business environment has soured, with Beijing and state-owned enterprises increasingly playing more interventionist roles with companies.
Shares dropped more than 2 percent following the report of Ma's impending retirement. "I've prepared a Jack Ma Foundation", Ma said.
Ma's retirement makes him one of the first founders of a generation of Chinese internet entrepreneurs to step down.
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 past year, and starring in his own kung fu short film. He cited the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates as an example.
As Beijing has increased its involvement in the private sector, Ma has shifted what he has said about China's government. His net worth is estimated at $40 billion.
"He's a symbol of the health of China's private sector and how high they can fly whether he likes it or not", Duncan Clark, author of the book "Alibaba: The House Jack Ma Built", said of Ma.
According to Chinese media outlets, he belongs to a family which used to get just U.S. $ 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.
Richard Liu, the billionaire founder of Alibaba's main competitor JD.com, was briefly arrested in the United States over a rape allegation last week.
In 1999, Jack Ma along with 17 others had founded Alibaba in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. "I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier". Initially developed as a business-to-business e-commerce solution.
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