Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire: reports

Jack Ma, above, the co-founder of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, is stepping down on Monday as its executive chairman, the New York Times reports.

Ma told the newspaper that his departure would not mark the end of an era but the beginning of one.

After retirement, he plans to follow Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ playbook by focusing on education and philanthropy.

Ma, 54, one of China’s richest individuals, said he will remain on Alibaba’s board of directors to mentor the company’s new management.

On Friday, he gave indications about his retirement in an interview with Bloomberg TV. He said he wanted to quit but did not say when.

Asked about his life after retirement, Ma said he wanted to focus on education and philanthropy like Gates. He said someday, he will also go back to teaching.

The Jack Ma Foundation set up in 2014 is dedicated to improving China’s education system especially in rural areas.

Ma has no worries about the future of the company which has shown a robust revenue growth of 61% in the quarter ending June 30. In recent years, it has entered the world of cloud computing, digital media and entertainment

Born to a poor family in the city of Hangzhou, Ma wished to join college but twice failed entrance exams. Finally, he became an English teacher.

Ma once said in an interview that his first Internet experience made him believe that it was going to transform the world, including China. He embraced the technological change and founded Alibaba in 1999 in his own home with just $60,000 invested by his friends.

Alibaba’s launch was a big success as it coincided with China’s economic growth and digital expansion.