Friday, 21 September, 2018

Alibaba founder Jack Ma says he sees a 'beginning' after retirement

Screenshot via Bloomberg Screenshot via Bloomberg
Oscar Goodwin | 08 September, 2018, 16:10

He would take the company to astronomical heights and make it China's major e-commerce website in the years to come.

In terms of the impact on the Chinese market and various business sectors, Duncan Clark, author of the book Alibaba: The House Jack Ma Built, explained:"He's a symbol of the health of China's private sector and how high they can fly whether he likes it or not". The Chinese economy is also facing slowing growth and increasing debt, and the country is embroiled in an escalating trade war with the United States.

It remains unclear whether Alibaba will appoint a new chairman after Ma formally retires from the company on Monday.

Ma is a man "who deftly maneuvered through the discontinuities and barriers in China to create one of the greatest companies in the world", as Tim Draper, founder of Draper Associates, DFJ, and Draper University said.

Known as Ma Yun in mainland China, he is scheduled to be in Russia next week to formalise Alibaba's venture with Mail.ru, the internet company owned by Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov and sovereign wealth fund Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).

"This is something I think I can do much better than being CEO of Alibaba", he told Bloomberg TV recently.

The day Jack Ma will be stepping down, September 10, is also celebrated as Teacher's Day in China.

"I am very thankful for Australia and the time I spent there in my youth", Ma said during his visit. But under his guidance, the Alibaba Group has become one of China's largest technology conglomerates. He said he will be spending more of his time and fortune to pursue philanthropy in education.

According to Chinese media outlets, he belongs to a family which used to get just U.S. $ 40 each month to take care of its needs.Yet, Ma managed to graduate from Hangzhou Teachers College with a major in English-language education.

In an interview, Ma said his retirement is not the end of an era but "the beginning of an era". However, the Chinese billionaire will still remain on Alibaba's board of directors.

He retired as Alibaba's chief executive in 2013, eventually handing the reins to his protege Daniel Zhang, but he remained active within the company, providing strategic direction as chairman.

Ma said he could never be as rich as Gates - but that he could retire earlier than Gates.

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