Alibaba Co-Founder Jack Ma Decides to Retire Inspired by Bill Gates

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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's co-founder Jack Ma will remain as executive chairman and unveil a succession strategy on Monday on his 54th birthday, South China Morning Post reported on Saturday, citing a company spokesman. He is the first among a generation of Chinese internet entrepreneurs to leave the companies they've founded.

Ma, who boasts a net worth of almost $40 billion(€34 billion), making him China's richest man, said he would use his retirement to focus on his philanthropic work, mainly around education.

"I'm sure he'll be just as involved as he has been in his chairman role, even if he doesn't have the formal title", said Carter.

Ma's decision also comes as a US police investigation into an allegation of rape against Richard Liu, had of top rival JD.com Inc (JD.O), hammered its shares. "I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier", Ma said during an interview last week with Bloomberg Television. Alibaba has more than 86,000 employees on staff.

He has told the New York Times that he will now focus on 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.

Alibaba has not said who will succeed Ma as executive chairman; he will remain on its board of directors.

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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).

Shares dropped more than 2 percent following the report of Ma's impending retirement.

He built it into one of the world's most consequential e-commerce and digital payments companies, transforming how Chinese people shop and pay for things which fueled his net worth to more than $40 billion, making him China's richest man.

Ma, who worked as an English teacher before founding Alibaba, also told Bloomberg: "I think some day, and soon, I'll go back to teaching".

The company's value has soared in recent years thanks to a growing portfolio that includes cloud computing, films, electronic payments and retail.

He started Alibaba from his flat in Hangzhou with a group of friends. It reported a total revenue of 158 billion ($23 billion) last fiscal year.

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