Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma leaves company with a rock show

Jack Ma

Jack Ma

After presiding over one of the most spectacular creations of wealth the world has ever seen, Jack Ma is giving up the reins of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Jack Ma stepped down as executive chairman of China's largest company on his 55th birthday after amassing $41.8 billion fortune - a trove surpassed only by India's Mukesh Ambani in Asia, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Ma's retirement announcement a year ago sparked off speculation that he may be stepping down due to prevailing business environment in China.

With a starting fund of 500,000 yuan (about 70,000 US dollars), Ma founded Alibaba in a residential community in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, on September 10, 1999, together with his 17 partners. It employs over 100,000 people, and has expanded into financial services, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Chinese retailing faces uncertainty amid a tariff war that has raised the cost of USA imports.

China's online retail sales grew just 17.8% in the first half of 2019, nearly halving from the 32.4% growth of the prior year, according to the national statistics office.

Alibaba's so-called partnership formed by 38 founding partners and senior executive after recent expansion holds the key to the company's major decisions.

Alibaba's stock price has risen about 10% in the past year, and revenue in the last quarter was up 42% year-on-year to about $16 billion (RMB115 billion). By comparison, the biggest U.S. e-commerce company, Amazon.com Inc, reported total sales of US$277 billion. -Chinese trade talks. Tsai said Alibaba stands to benefit from Beijing's promise to increase imports and a growing consumer market.

Jack Ma's 20 years with Alibaba has ushered in the booming e-commerce industry into China and cultivated the country's online consumption potential which amazed the world.

Dalakoti also noted that Alibaba's affiliate company Ant Finance was also doing well and could become the greatest Chinese company in Fintech.

Alibaba's partnership before a recent expansion. Click to enlarge
Alibaba's partnership before a recent expansion. Click to enlarge

Alongside home-grown internet giants Baidu and Tencent, the company has transformed the Chinese retail landscape in the past decade. Few Chinese used credit cards, so Alibaba created the Alipay online payments system.

Ma was spotted at one point welling up with tears as staff put on skits and sang songs, prompting the topic "Jack Ma has cried" to trend on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

Ma now has a net worth of 38.6 billion Dollars, according to Forbes.

In 2015, the businessman bought The South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's biggest English-language newspaper.

CEO Daniel Zhang succeeds Ma as chairman of the board, effective September 10, 2019. He was previously president of its consumer-focused Tmall.com (天貓) business unit. Alibaba also set up its own film studio and invested in logistics and delivery services.

Alibaba didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The updated values are expected to help the company keep pace with the rapid changes in the digital era as Alibaba continues to expand globally, entering new markets and new businesses-and attracting new employees.

In October 1999, Alibaba received a $25 million investment from Goldman Sachs and SoftBank.

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