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Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma announces plans to retire at 54

08 September 2018

The co-founder of $420the billion internet company, Jack Ma, has announced that he will be retiring from Alibaba on Monday. According to the paper current CEO Daniel Zhang is a "candidate" to replace Ma, who plans to pursue philanthropy in education. Jack Ma is now China's richest man though he has said that he will be focussing his time and money on education now.

Ma was born in September 1964 to Chinese traditional musician-storytellers living in Hangzhou, an ancient capital that has become a global hi-tech hub and bastion of entrepreneurship, in part because of Alibaba's base there.

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".

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"I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier".

Alibaba started as an online marketplace for businesses to sell their products to other businesses.

Huge conglomerates like Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and JD.com are to China what Facebook and Google are to the United States. Alibaba later rolled out Alipay, an online payment service, to facilitate transactions in a country where few people had credit cards. Apart from e-commerce, Alibaba also handles digital payments, online banking, cloud computing and digital media and entertainment, reported CNET.

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Ma has inspired strong devotion among his employees and users, drawing comparisons with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs - although he practiced a more open management style. Ma told Bloomberg earlier this week that he wanted to dedicate more of his time and fortune to philanthropy with the creation of a foundation in his own name focused on education, following in the footsteps of fellow billionaire Bill Gates.

Ma was an English teacher before starting Alibaba in 1999 and built it into a multibillion-dollar internet colossus.

He is one of the most colorful of China's growing crop of billionaires, performing a Michael Jackson-inspired dance routine at the company's 18th anniversary celebration previous year, and starring in his own kung fu short film.

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Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma announces plans to retire at 54