Jack Ma might be retiring from e-commerce and business, but he plans to spend his time, energy, and resources on philanthropy and education.
Chinese e-commerce super giant Alibaba’s co-founder and Chairman Jack Ma announces his plans to retire at the age of 54.
Ma plans to retire on Monday – the day of his 54th birthday, and plans to devote his time and resources to philanthropy focused on education. In an interview with The New York Times, Ma referred to his departure from the company as “the beginning of an era” rather than an end.
Ma started Alibaba in 1999 and built into a multibillion dollar internet empire valued at about $420 billion, making him one of the richest men in the world and the richest man in China, with a personal network of about $39 billion.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV released on Friday, Ma said that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, one of the world’s most prolific philanthropists. “There’s a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates. I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier,” he said. “I think some day, and soon, I’ll go back to teaching.” He also added that he had been preparing philanthropy plans at his eponymous foundation for 10 years.
“I don’t think it means that much, frankly. He stepped back from the CEO role about four or five years ago and very specifically made a comment about wanting the younger people to lead the company,” said Kevin Carter, founder of The Emerging Markets Internet exchange-trade fund.
Ma will announce the plan on his 54th birthday and the handover strategy will stretch over a significant period of time, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper reported citing a company spokesman.
As Ma turns 54 on Monday, it is also Teachers’ Day in China, and he will be taking on endeavors in the field of education.