Jack Ma, the co-founder and executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group is retiring, The New York Times has reported.
Mr Ma said he plans to step down as executive chairman on Monday to pursue philanthropy in education. He will remain on Alibaba’s board of directors. One of China’s best-known corporate leaders, Mr Ma started Alibaba in 1999 in his flat in the Chinese city of Hangzhou and is now among the richest people in the world.
Alibaba’s empire today encompasses online selling and banking, film production and cloud computing. It also holds stakes in Chinese social media site Weibo and owns English-language newspaper The South China Morning Post.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Mr Ma said he will be dedicating more of his time to philanthropy with the creation of a foundation in his own name focused on education, following in the footsteps of Bill Gates.
Mr Ma was born in September 1964 in Hangzhou, the capital of China’s Zhejiang province. It was here that he attended Hangzhou Normal University and graduated in 1988 with a BA in English before creating the Alibaba Group, backed by $60,000 (£46,000) from 18 co-founders.