Jack Ma, the Chairman of Chinese tech giant Alibaba, is making moves to step down. He'll hand over the position of chairman one year from now and leave the board of directors in 2020. The company made the announcement on Monday, Ma's 54th birthday. From humble beginnings in 1999, Alibaba today has a market value of around $420 billion.
Rueters' Kate Cadell says that success has earned Ma a world wide reptuation.>> Jack Ma is tremendously well known in China but also globally. He's one of the few Chinese executives that kind of has that mix. And he'a also come up at a time when China has also grown very, very strongly.
And he's kind of a representative figure of that whole period of time where the country went from being dominated by statering industries to having its own kind of giant private enterprises, Alibaba being a great example of one.>> Taking the helm would be Alibaba's current CEO Daniel Zhang whose made a name for himself as one of the key architects of Singles day, the world's largest online shopping event.
>> Ma has a net worth of nearly $37 billion according to Forbes, making him one of China's richest men. He says he wants to spend his retirement giving back.>> Jack Ma was originally a teacher, he doesn't have a technical background. And so he's always very strongly supported education with philanthropy.
And judging by his comments he intends after he retires to go back to philanthropy. He's in a way modelling himself on Bill Gates. And he said he will never be as rich as Bill Gates but he can retire younger, which is essentially what he's doing.>> Ma is an icon of self made wealth in China with a large popular following thanks in part to his charisma.
>> He's known for putting on elaborate dances at Alibaba events. He's known for having strong opinions about work culture, and he's really a leading icon and what it means to be an entrepreneur in China. He's a strongly idolized person in the industry.>> Ma says that even after retirement he'll still have a role in management, helping steer the ship as part of a senior group of advisers.