Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire

Jack Ma, the executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, will step down in a year, the company has confirmed.

Jack will continue as Executive Chairman at Alibaba for about a year for a smooth transition of the chairmanship to Zhang, the company said in a statement.

The group has the ability to nominate the majority of directors on the company's board, and now five of Alibaba's eleven board members have been nominated by the partnership.

Ma, who co-founded Alibaba in 1999, is one of China's richest people with a net worth of $36.6 billion, according to Forbes.

Alibaba is one of the world's most valuable companies - its shares almost doubled in value past year.

As the Indian e-commerce space flourishes - with Walmart's acquisition of Flipkart and Amazon pouring in millions of dollars - recent media reports indicated that Ma has plans to invest into Reliance Retail Ltd which, if true, will see Alibaba have physical presence and a bigger retail clout in India. "There's a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates".

He relinquished the role of chief executive in 2013. Zhang, 46, has been in the job since 2015 after serving as the company's chief operating officer. The company has grown to have more than 66,000 full-time employees and a market value of some $420 billion.

Trump fires back at Apple: Make your products in US
The two sides have imposed 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of each other's goods. Treasuries it holds, although that could hurt China as much as the United States.

"Ma is a lifetime partner in the Alibaba Partnership and is a member of its partnership committee", the statement added.

The group has the ability to nominate the majority of directors on the company's board.

Last year, he made his acting debut with his first kung fu short film Gong Shou Dao, in which he sparred with martial arts master Jet Li.

Since handing over the CEO role, Ma has concentrated on philanthropy and promoting Alibaba internationally at business and political events. It was then backed by $60,000 from 18 co-founders. Three years later, the foundation for education pledged to donate $30m to a 10-year initiative to support teaching in rural China. He has also established a scholarship program in Newcastle, Australia.

Unusual are the ways in which tech honchos function: News about a change of guard came via his interview on Friday with The New York Times - at a time when US-China trade war is at its zenith - and not from Alibaba itself.

He said, "Starting the process of passing the Alibaba torch to Daniel and his team is the right decision at the right time because I know from working with them that they are ready, and I have complete confidence in our next generation of leaders."
Zhang served as president of Alibaba's consumer-focused Tmall.com business unit.

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