Alibaba's Jack Ma to unveil succession plan next week, remain chairman

08 September, 2018, 19:12 | Author: Kevin Carter
  • Ma is revered by many Chinese some of whom have put his portrait in their homes to worship

Ma built the company into a multibillion-dollar internet colossus.

"I am very thankful for Australia and the time I spent there in my youth", Ma said during his visit.

Ma's Bloomberg interview came as shares of China's second-largest e-commerce company, JD.com, plummeted as its CEO Li Qiangdong was arrested in the U.S. over an accusation of rape.

Shares of Alibaba fell more than two per cent in after-hours trading on reports of his retirement. His retirement is not an end of an era but "the beginning of an era", Ma told the publication in an interview adding that he would be spending more of his time and fortune on education.

A former English teacher before establishing Alibaba with 17 partners, Ma is known by colleagues as "Teacher Ma".

Though he will no longer be involved in the day-to-day operations of the company, Ma will continue to serve on Alibaba's board where he will offer his input about the future financial direction of the company. But under his guidance, the Alibaba Group has become one of China's largest technology conglomerates. Morley brought young Ma to Australia in 1985 for his first overseas trip, when he spent almost a month in Newcastle, an experience which the Chinese businessman said had "totally changed my future".

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"I don't think it means that much, frankly".

Ma, the executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding and public face of the technology juggernaut, will unveil the plan on September 10 on his 54th birthday. Ma stepped down as Alibaba's chief executive in 2013; the company's current chief executive is Daniel Zhang, who is a candidate to succeed Ma.

Ma is following a similar path as Bill Gates, who has dedicated himself to philanthropy after retirement, and has cited Microsoft's co-founder as an inspiration in an interview with Bloomberg TV recently.

Mr Ma is the first of his generation of rich tech bosses to retire as Chinese business bosses often run their empires well into their 80s. The company has increased its presence outside China by investing in e-commerce and online finance companies in India and Southeast Asia.

He has inspired strong devotion among his employees and users, drawing comparisons with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs - although he practices a more open management style.

A devotee of tai chi, he has made references to Chinese martial arts in both business strategy and corporate culture.

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