Jack Ma who is one of the world’s richest men and arguably China’s most famous entrepreneur. The Alibaba co-founder is now set to step down from his role as chairman of the e-commerce giant.
As he celebrates his 55th birthday, Ma will hand over the reins to Daniel Zhang, the company’s CEO who Ma handpicked last year.
Ma’s retirement was announced last September in an open letter while he said: “Those who know me know that I do not like to sit idle. The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things.”
After Ma’s stepping away from Alibaba’s senior management and board, he is expected to continue to shape the company’s future through his lifetime membership with the Alibaba Partnership, a group of 36 people that can nominate a majority of the directors to the board.
He also retains a 6.22% share of the company. Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang will also take on the role of chairman from Ma.
Ma says he wants to dedicate the rest of his life and £31bn fortune to philanthropic pursuits, specifically one of his known passions which is the widespread of education to people living in rural and disadvantaged areas.
Alibaba began in 1999 as a trading platform for businesses, only launching its consumer-facing business in 2003. As global retail growth stalled, Alibaba followed Amazon in branching out into services, offering online payments, financial services, artificial intelligence and cloud computing.
Alibaba has been listed on the New York stock exchange since 2014 and has a market capitalisation of $460bn.