Jack Ma steps down as chairman of Alibaba

Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba.

Jack Ma stepped down as chairman of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba today.

Ma announced his intention to retire as chairman last year. He will continue to serve on Alibaba’s board until the company’s annual general shareholders’ meeting next year and also remain a lifetime partner of Alibaba Partnership.

Ma’s replacement is the company’s current CEO Daniel Zhang.

“He has the logic and critical thinking skills of a super computer, a commitment to his vision, the courage to wholeheartedly dare to take on innovative business models and industries of the future,” Ma said about Zhang last year. 

Ma, a former English teacher, co-founded Alibaba two decades ago in a small shared apartment in Hangzhou city. He didn’t have a background in computing but managed to convince a group of friends to invest in his online marketplace.

Alibaba is now valued at $460 billion and Mr Ma is China’s richest man with a net worth of approximately $38.6 billion, according to Forbes.

What does Ma plan to do next?

In an interview with the New York Times last year Ma said that he would like to focus on education and philanthropy.

He said his retirement wasn’t the end, but rather the the “beginning of an era”.

At an Alibaba event last September, Ma said: “Before I’m 70 years old, I can do something in other fields, in areas like education,”