Jack Ma, the charismatic co-founder and chairman of China's largest e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, has begun making arrangements to step down as part of a long-term transition plan, the company said on Monday (Sep 10).
The group has the ability to nominate the majority of directors on the company's board, and now five of Alibaba's eleven board members have been nominated by the partnership.
Ma, a former English teacher with no technical background, co-founded Alibaba in 1999 with 17 others and has become one of China's richest people with a net worth of $36.6 billion, according to Forbes.
Ma, who turned 54 on Monday, became one of the world's richest entrepreneurs and one of China's best-known business figures.
"Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba", Mr. Ma said in the letter.
Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group, attends the launch of a blockchain-based remittance solution in Hong Kong on June 25, 2018.
Since Mr. Zhang, known as Zhang Yong in mainland China, was named chief executive in May 2015, "Alibaba has seen consistent and sustainable growth for 13 consecutive quarters".
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"Zhang had earlier said that India is a "very important" market for Alibaba in its global strategy".
Ma said in an interview with Bloomberg TV last week that he plans to shift his focus to philanthropy and education, taking him back to his profession before starting an e-commerce empire.
He took care not to project himself bigger than the CPC leadership though he has emerged as modern China's most revered corporate icon. As internet use spread, the company expanded into consumer-focused retailing and services. "There's a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates".
Jack had stepped down as Alibaba's Chief Executive in 2013, handing over the reins to Jonathan, who was later replaced by Daniel Zhang.
In 2014, he and co-founder Joe Tsai set up a charitable trust focusing on the environment and health, funded by share options they own that represented about 2 percent of Alibaba's equity at the time. "Those who know me know that I do not like to sit idle", he said.
On September 3, the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Alibaba Cloud to adopt cloud computing frameworks within the government model.
After the meeting he said that they had both agreed that US-China relations "should be strengthened, should be more friendly and do better".