Jack Ma Officially Retires as Alibaba Chairman

Alibaba's Jack Ma steps down as industry faces uncertainty

Jack Ma giving up the reins of Alibaba Group

Jack Ma, the billionaire who ushered e-commerce into China, is officially stepping down as Alibaba's executive chairman on Tuesday.

Ma said in last year's announcement that he plans for his departure from Alibaba Group to be very gradual: "The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba".

The businessman will also continue mentoring the company's management as he remains a lifetime partner in a corporate governing body called Alibaba Partnership, which has the right to nominate directors to the company's board.

The company has shifted its focus to serving China's growing consumer market. Domestic businesses accounted for 66% of its $16.7 billion in revenue in the quarter ending in June.

The total amount of goods sold throughout Alibaba's e-commerce businesses rose 25 percent a year ago to $853 billion.

Alibaba was established at a time when few Chinese were active online.

On 4 April 1999, Ma and his team of 17 friends and students founded Alibaba.com, a China-based B2B marketplace site, in his Hangzhou apartment.

The company's $25 billion initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2014 was the biggest to date by a Chinese company. According to Forbes magazine, he is China's richest man with a networth of $38.4 billion.

In 2015, Ma bought the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's biggest English-language newspaper.

On Tuesday night, attendees at the Jack Ma retirement bash will get clues from the mentor how Alibaba will be run by his successor Daniel Zhang.

Ma faced questions in 2011 when Alibaba gave control of Alipay to a company he controlled without immediately informing shareholders.

After building the Alibaba empire Jack Ma will be focusing on philanthropy.

Alibaba said the move was required to comply with Chinese regulations, but some financial analysts said the company was paid too little for a valuable asset.

Ma has argued that such a system helps Alibaba to center on long-term development instead of reacting to pressure from financial markets.

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