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

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

Ma said his retirement is not the end of an era but "the beginning of an era". He would take the company to astronomical heights and make it China's major e-commerce website in the years to come.

Among China's biggest companies, Alibaba is viewed as one of the firms with the deepest ranks of management talent.

After being knocked back by United States venture capitalists in 1999, a cash-strapped Ma persuaded friends to give him $60,000 to start Alibaba, which operated out of an apartment in Hangzhou. Ma stepped down as Alibaba's chief executive in 2013, but remained executive chairman.

As he prepares to leave the company, Ma is among China's richest men with a net worth estimated by Forbes at $38.6 billion.

He said: "There's a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates".

Since handing off his CEO title to Daniel Zhang, Ma has spent 40 per cent of the year travelling the globe to preach about the virtues of globalisation and inter-connectedness, the potential of technology to improve lives, and about philanthropy.

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Jack Ma will step down from his role on Monday - his 54th birthday - and plans to devote his time to philanthropy and education.

In terms of the impact on the Chinese market and various business sectors, Duncan Clark, author of the book Alibaba: The House Jack Ma Built, explained:"He's a symbol of the health of China's private sector and how high they can fly whether he likes it or not".

Ma has thrived in the spotlight as he became a much sought-after guest for conferences around the world, even as tensions between China and the United States have risen over trade.

Ma graduated from the Hangzhou Teachers College with a major in English-language education, and went on to teach at another university in the city, where Alibaba is still headquartered. Ma even believes that he can "do much better" at teaching than he did as CEO of Alibaba.

Ma said he sees himself as an accidental executive. Adding that he loves education, Jack Ma said that after stepping down his focus will be on education. "I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier", he said. "This is a common language we have".

After being knocked back by United States venture capitalists in 1999, cash-strapped Chinese entrepreneur Ma persuaded friends to give him $60,000 to start an e-commerce firm called Alibaba.

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