Published: Sat, September 08, 2018
Money | By Bruce West

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma reportedly retiring from Alibaba on Monday

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma reportedly retiring from Alibaba on Monday

After being knocked back by USA venture capitalists in 1999, cash-strapped Chinese entrepreneur Ma persuaded friends to give him $60,000 to start an e-commerce firm called Alibaba. A former teacher, Ma told Bloomberg TV earlier this week he might go back to teaching someday.

"I don't think it means that much, frankly".

The Jack Ma Foundation, which was founded in 2014, is chiefly dedicated to improving China's education system, particularly in rural areas.

"The first time I used the internet, I touched on the keyboard and I find [sic] "well, this is something I is something that is going to change the world and change China", Ma told CNN in 2006.

His retirement would mark "the beginning of an era" for him, one in which he could concentrate on charitable activities in education, a field close to his heart, he said in the interview.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Mr Ma has a net worth of about $40bn (£30.96bn).

Shares of Alibaba fell more than two per cent in after-hours trading on reports of his retirement.

Alibaba's sprawling businesses are now managed by a dozen senior managers: Zhang as CEO; Simon Hu is president of the cloud computing business; Trudy Dai runs the business-to-business e-commerce marketplace; Yang Weidong manages digital media and entertainment; Jiang Fan runs Taobao, while Jet Jing runs Tmall.

Although he was no longer in charge of the day-to-day running of the company, Ma continued to be Alibaba's guiding hand and its most recognized face.

Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Monday is his 54th birthday, and the Chinese holiday Teacher's Day, making the announcement particularly timely.

Ma has inspired strong devotion among his employees and users, drawing comparisons with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs - although he practised a more open management style.

Ma's decision also comes as a USA police investigation into an allegation of rape against Richard Liu, had of top rival Inc (JD.O), hammered its shares.

Known as Ma Yun in mainland China, he is scheduled to be in Russia next week to formalise Alibaba's venture with, the internet company owned by Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov and sovereign wealth fund Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).

Beijing has announced plans to regulate the country's highly popular video game industry, including restrictions on the number of new releases to address concerns over children's eyesight and gaming addiction.

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