China’s richest man Jack Ma to retire from Alibaba on his birthday
08 September, 2018, 10:55 | Author: Patty Hardy
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 a year ago, and starring in his own kung fu short film.
With the consolidation of political power by China's president, Xi Jinping, however, the business climate has changed.
Alibaba transformed how the Chinese people shop and make purchases, and made Ma the richest man in the world's most populous country. "His retirement will be interpreted as frustration or concern whether he likes it or not".
Porter Erisman, a former Alibaba employee who made a documentary about the firm, "Crocodile in the Yangtze", said: "What Silicon Valley is known for, he embodies a lot of that with Chinese characteristics - that spirit of openness, risk-taking, innovation". He will remain on Alibaba's board of directors.
Ma, who turns 54 on Monday, told New York Times that the decision to retire would be "the beginning of an era" instead of an end.
The co-founder of $420the billion internet company, Jack Ma, has announced that he will be retiring from Alibaba on Monday.
Alibaba's growth and Ma's wealth track changes in modern China, in which a burgeoning urban middle class has more money to spend while authorities allowed large accumulations of wealth, especially when connected to forward-thinking enterprises. Liu Qiangdong, the billionaire founder of online retailer JD.com, was arrested on rape charges last week on a business trip to Minneapolis. He was released and returned to China, although the investigation remains active. According to the paper current CEO Daniel Zhang is a "candidate" to replace Ma, who plans to pursue philanthropy in education.
Ma was born in September 1964 to Chinese traditional musician-storytellers living in Hangzhou, an ancient capital that's become a global high-tech hub and bastion of entrepreneurship, in part because of Alibaba's base there.
Alibaba started as an online marketplace for businesses to sell their products to other businesses.
It owns a stake in China's hugely popular Twitter-like Weibo platform and in 2015 it bought the South China Morning Post newspaper.
One of China's biggest tech titans is stepping down. Numerous co-founders are still around, and professionals who joined the company later are now in charge.
Last month, Alibaba reported a 60% increase in quarterly sales, even as profits fell. Ant Financial has revenues of about $40 billion a year.
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