Jack Ma steps down as Alibaba chairman

Jack Ma giving up the reins of Alibaba Group

He's celebrating his retirement with a big bash at an Olympic-sized stadium in the company's hometown of Hangzhou.

The e-commerce giant and one of Asia's richest man Jack Ma on Tuesday stepped down as the executive chairman of China's largest company - Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, a decision which also coincided with his 55th birthday.

He will remain as a board member of Alibaba with a six percent share in the company.

An accountant by trade, soft-spoken Alibaba CEO Zhang marks a stark contrast to Mr. Ma whose flamboyant style and charismatic leadership made him the most recognised Chinese entrepreneur since the former English teacher founded the company 20 years ago in a small shared apartment in Hangzhou city in eastern China.

Ma announced previous year that he would be stepping down as Alibaba's chairman on September 10, 2019.

The date, Ma has chosen to step down is September 10. The company has expanded into online banking, entertainment and cloud computing.

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The Hurun Report, which follows China's wealth, estimates Ma's fortune at $38 billion.

After two decades building Alibaba into a $460 billion business, Ma is now pivoting full time to philanthropy.

According to BBC, Daniel Zhang, Alibaba's chief executive, will replace him as executive chairman.

Last week, Alibaba announced investments of $2.7 billion in luxury goods retail platform Kaola and a music streaming firm in moves that partly demonstrated its flexibility in adopting new strategies.

Alibaba's e-commerce business includes business-to-business Alibaba.com.

Ma has argued that such a system helps Alibaba to center on long-term development instead of reacting to pressure from financial markets. "I do believe the world is good, there are so many opportunities, and I love excitement so much, which is why I will retire early", Ma told guests and employees. Zhang is credited with spearheading Alibaba's annual Singles' Day shopping extravaganza, the biggest single retail event in human history.

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