China’s richest man and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s co-founder Jack Ma announced his retirement with effect from Monday to pursue philanthropy in education. Jack Ma, who is much respected in China, and is the global face of Alibaba, will retire after he turns 54 on Monday. Jack Ma, a former English teacher, co-founded Alibaba with 18 others out of his apartment in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in 1999. The e-commerce company has a total market value of about $420 billion as of Friday’s close.
Here are 10 things you should know about Jack Ma’s retirement:
- Jack Ma stepped down as Alibaba chief executive in 2013. He currently serves as the company’s executive chairman.
- Jack Ma will remain on Alibaba’s board of directors and continue to mentor its management, the New York Times said on Friday, according to a report by news agency Reuters.
- He was quoted by the New York Times as saying his retirement was not the end of an era, but the beginning of one.
- Jack Ma is China’s third richest person with a net worth of $36.6 billion according to Forbes magazine. Ma also controls Ant Financial, which was valued at about $150 billion after a recent fundraising round.
- Transforming how Chinese people shop and pay for things, Jack Ma built Alibaba into one of the world’s most consequential e-commerce and digital payments companies.
- Last month, Alibaba reported a 60 per cent increase in quarterly sales, even as profits fell.
- Ma is revered by many Chinese, some of whom have put his portrait in their homes to worship in the same way that they worship the God of Wealth, stated a report by news agency Indo-Asian News Service.
- Alibaba has changed the way people work in China. Millions of people now run their own shops selling goods on its Taobao ecommerce platform or stream their own videos on its entertainment platforms.
- Analysts and industry professionals say it is unlikely Ma’s involvement with Alibaba will change significantly. “I don’t think it means that much, frankly. He stepped back from the CEO role about four or five years ago and very specifically made a comment about wanting the younger people to lead the company. I’m sure he’ll be just as involved as he has been in his chairman role, even if he doesn’t have the formal title,” said Kevin Carter, founder of The Emerging Markets Internet exchange-trade fund.
- Ma oversees a number of charitable projects in education and environmental fields. (With agencies inputs)