Ma was a British teacher before beginning Alibaba in 1999 and built it into a multibillion-dollar online colossus, becoming one of the world’s wealthiest men and a respected figure in his life.
His own worth has surged along with that of the business, which was valued at $420.8 billion (approximately Rs. 30.3 lakh crores) according to its share price at the close of trade on Friday.
Ma told The New York Times he plans to step down from the business on Monday — his 54th birthday referring to his death as”the beginning of an era” instead of an end.
Ma, who gave up the title of CEO at 2013, said he now planned to devote his time and fortune to schooling.
How he chose to make the announcement was odd. The New York Times is obstructed in China from Communist Party censors and there wasn’t any official announcement from Alibaba on Saturday.
But in an interview with Bloomberg TV published on Friday, he succeeded at his retirement plans, saying he wished to follow in the footsteps of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, one of the planet’s most prolific philanthropists.
“There is a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates. I can never be as rich, but one thing that I could do better is to retire sooner,” he explained.
“I think a while, and soon, I’ll return to teaching,” he said, adding he had been preparing philanthropy plans at his eponymous foundation”for 10 years”.
Ma is part of a generation of billionaire entrepreneurs who made their fortunes as China embraced the digital era, creating a number of the nation’s largest and most prosperous companies in the area of little more than a decade.
Ma is the first of his generation of uber-wealthy tech managers to retire, a rare movement in a state where business figures often run their empires well in their 80s — Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing just retired in May at age 89.
An accidental entrepreneur
Ma’s rags-to-riches narrative is very remarkable.
After being knocked back by US venture capitalists in 1999, a cash-strapped Ma persuaded friends to give him $60,000 (approximately Rs. 43.26 lakhs) to begin Alibaba, which operated from an apartment at Hangzhou.
“The first time I used the internet, I touched on the computer keyboard and I find’well, this is something I think, it is something that is going to change the world and alter China,'” Ma formerly told CNN.
The firm, still headquartered in his hometown, initially allowed businesses to sell products to each other online but soon morphed into China’s largest online retail market.
It transformed the way Chinese people shop and cover items, particularly through the now ubiquitous Alipay digital payment service.
The Alibaba empire now crosses well beyond internet retail and obligations to include cloud computing, electronic media and entertainment, with sterling earnings growth that jumped another 61 percent in the quarter ending June 30.
Ma has prompted strong loyalty among his workers and employees, drawing comparisons with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs — even though he practised a more open management style.
A devotee of tai chi, he has made references to Chinese martial arts in the business strategy and corporate culture.
Porter Erisman, a former Alibaba employee who made a documentary concerning the firm,”Crocodile in the Yangtze,” said:”What Silicon Valley is known for, he embodies a whole lot of the with Chinese features — that spirit of willingness, risk-taking, innovation.”
Chinese state media have burnished his rags-to-riches narrative, saying his parents were poorly educated and his father relied upon a monthly retirement allowance of only $40 to encourage the family.
Ma’s retirement comes following a torrid couple of weeks due to his rival tech CEOs in China.
Richard Liu, the billionaire founder of Alibaba’s main competitor JD.com, was briefly arrested in america over a rape allegation last week. He had been released and returned to China, even though the analysis remains active.
Meanwhile internet and gaming giant Tencent, an e-payment competition, has seen its profits and share price fall amid an apparent regulatory squeeze on the technology giant’s internet gaming industry.
Beijing has announced plans to control the country’s highly popular video game business, including restrictions on the number of new releases to address concerns over children’s eyesight and gaming addiction.