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Chinese billionaire Jack Ma confirms exit at Alibaba, announces successor
10 September 2018, 11:10 | Kelvin Horton
Jack Ma Getty Images
I also want to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do.
Born to a poor family in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Mr Ma began his career as an English teacher before becoming a self-made dotcom billionaire.
In a letter to shareholders, Ma said that he still has lots of dreams to pursue.
The company, which is battling arch rival Tencent Holdings Ltd for pole position in the food delivery market, recently said it will merge units including Ele.me and Koubei and raise funds for the combined business. He is a permanent member of the Alibaba Partnership.
In the letter on Monday, Ma said he had been planning his exit for ten years and has previously said he wants the company to last 102 years, choosing a specific number to motivate employees.
In 2014, he and co-founder Joe Tsai set up a charitable trust focusing on the environment and health, funded by share options they own that represented about 2 percent of Alibaba's equity at the time.
Ma said that after he steps down from his current roles he will continue to mentor management as part of the "Alibaba Partnership", a 36-member group of core company managers.
During his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015, he had discussed ways to empower small businesses in India.
On September 3, the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Alibaba Cloud to adopt cloud computing frameworks within the government model.
Alibaba has been making inroads into India.
Hence, Ma's suggestion to his successor could be to focus on India as it is not yet saturated like China.
Globalisation is one of our key strategies for Alibaba.
"I've worked closely with Daniel since 2007 when he first joined us as chief financial officer of Taobao", said Joseph Tsai, Alibaba's executive vice-chairman who was the company's finance chief until 2013.
The report of his retirement came as a surprise, especially in the Chinese government circles as the NYT report said Mr. Ma was relinquishing as China's business environment had soured, with the government and state-owned enterprises increasingly playing more interventionist roles with companies.
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