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Profiles - September 10, 2018

Alibaba’s Jack Ma, China’s Richest Man, to Retire From Company He Co-Founded

Chinese Billionaire Jack Ma is reportedly stepping down from his position as executive chairman of Alibaba (BABA), the $420 billion e-commerce empire he co-founded in 1999.

Ma will officially retire on Monday, his 54th birthday, and pursue educational philanthropy. Ma will remain on the board of Alibaba. He will focus on his JackMaFoundation and dedicate his time to improving education, he told the Times. A former teacher, Ma told Bloomberg TV earlier this week he might go back to teaching someday.

“This is something I think I can do much better than being CEO of Alibaba,” he said.

Alibaba is one of the largest companies in China and among the most important online retail platforms in the world. As it’s grown, it has expanded into a wide array of other industries including, movies, news and cloud computing. It’s also invested money and resources in technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics. Its affiliate company Ant Financial, China’s largest online payment platform, is valued at an estimated $150 billion.

In an interview, Mr. Ma said his retirement is not the end of an era but “the beginning of an era.” He said he would be spending more of his time and fortune focused on education. “I love education,” he said.

Mr. Ma will remain on Alibaba’s board of directors and continue to mentor the company’s management. Mr. Ma turns 54 on Monday, which is also a holiday in China known as Teacher’s Day.

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