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To Pursue Philanthropy, Alibaba’s Chief Executive Jack Ma Steps Down

Ma is retiring as at a time when the China is embroiled in an escalating trade war with the US and the Chinese economy is facing slowing growth and increasing debt.

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The logo is displayed at the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. VOA
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In a surprising move, China’s richest man, Jack Ma, has revealed plans to step down as the Executive Chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba on Monday to pursue philanthropy in education, paving the way for a change of guard for the $420 billion Internet company that he co-founded.

Ma will turn 54 on Monday, which is also a holiday in China and known as Teacher’s Day.

In an exclusive New York Times interview, the Chinese billionaire said on Friday that his retirement was not the end of an era but “the beginning of an era”.

“I love education,” the Chinese billionaire said, adding that he would be spending more of his time and fortune focused on education.

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A former English teacher, Ma co-founded Alibaba with 17 others out of his apartment in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in 1999.

He built it into one of the world’s most consequential e-commerce and digital payments companies, transforming how Chinese people shop and pay for things which fuelled his net worth to more than $40 billion, making him China’s richest man.

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.

Ma will remain on Alibaba’s board of directors and continue to mentor the company’s management.

The retirement makes Ma one of the first founders among a generation of prominent Chinese Internet entrepreneurs to step down from their companies.

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Visitors walk past a giant display at the Alibaba Group headquarters in Hangzhou, in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, May 27, 2016. VOA

Firms including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and JD.com have flourished in recent years, growing to nearly rival American Internet behemoths like Amazon and Google in their size, scope and ambition.

Last month, Alibaba reported a 60 per cent increase in quarterly sales, even as profits fell.

The company’s annual revenue totals about 250 billion yuan ($40 billion).

Alibaba has also 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, The Financial Times reported.

Taobao is estimated to have created almost 37m jobs in China, according to a study last year by Renmin University’s School of Labour and Human Resources, the report added.

For Chinese tycoons to step aside in their 50s is rare; they usually remain at the top of their organisations for many years.

Alibaba
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. Flickr

In an interview earlier this week, Ma had signaled that he was thinking about focusing more on philanthropy. He cited the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates as an example.

Also Read: Researchers In China Discover a Potential Antibiotic

Ma is retiring as at a time when the China is embroiled in an escalating trade war with the US and the Chinese economy is facing slowing growth and increasing debt, The New York Times report said. (IANS)

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CEO Zhang, Alibaba Succeeds Jack Ma as Chairman

The firm made a whopping $25 billion worth sales in a 24-hour period across its e-commerce platforms, last year.

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The logo is displayed at the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. VOA

Chinese e-tailer Alibaba Group’s Chief Executive Daniel Zhang will be the new chairman, succeeding its co-founder Jack Ma from September 10, 2019, the global firm announced on Monday.

“Ma will continue as the executive chairman of the company over the next 12 months to ensure a smooth transition to Zhang,” a statement quoting the Chinese behemoth said here.

The Hangzhou-based company’s 20th anniversary on September 10, 2019, Zhang will take charge as the new chairman.

Zhang, who was earlier the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Taobao, an online shopping portal owned by the Alibaba Group, was appointed the CEO of the Alibaba Group in 2015. He has been with the company since 2007.

Alibaba
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. Flickr

The co-founder of the company, Ma, will however, remain as a board member of the Alibaba Group until the annual shareholder meet in 2020, which marks the 21st anniversary of the e-commerce and tech conglomerate.

“While remaining as executive chairman in the next 12 months, I will work closely with Daniel (Zhang) to ensure smooth transition,” Ma said in a letter to the shareholders and employees on the occasion of the company’s 19th anniversary on Monday.

The transition demonstrates that the firm has stepped up from a company that relies on individuals, to one built on a culture of talent development, Ma’s letter addressed to the company’s 86,000 employees said.

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

Alibaba
Founded in 1999 by Chinese teacher-turned-entrepreneur Ma as a platform to connect Chinese manufacturers with the world. VOA

The Alibaba Partnership has 36 partners, who are the senior management of Alibaba Group or its affiliates, including movie-making firm Alibaba Pictures, cloud computing firm Alibaba Cloud, financial services firm Ant Financial among others.

Founded in 1999 by Chinese teacher-turned-entrepreneur Ma as a platform to connect Chinese manufacturers with the world, It stands among one of the largest companies in the world.

Ma, who turned 54 on Monday, said while continuing as a member of Alibaba Partnership, he wants to return to education.

“I want to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do. The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things,” the Chinese business icon’s letter added.

The group’s e-tail portals Alibaba.com, Taobao, Tmall and AliExpress together clock billions of dollars of sales each year.

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As per its statement, the company’s revenue was $39.9 billion for fiscal 2017-18.

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During the company’s annual global shopping festival held on November 11 last year, the firm made a whopping $25 billion worth sales in a 24-hour period across its e-commerce platforms.

Apart from its online shopping portals, The company also offers electronic payment services and cloud computing services. (IANS)