Ma is the first of his generation of superwealthy tech CEOs to retire, an unusual move in a country where successful business leaders often run their empires well into their 80s - Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing only retired in May at the age of 89.
With the consolidation of political power by China's president, Xi Jinping, however, the business climate has changed. The Chinese economy is also facing slowing growth and increasing debt, and the country is embroiled in an escalating trade war with the United States. "His retirement will be interpreted as frustration or concern whether he likes it or not".
"A physical Alibaba headquarters is a key step in ensuring Australian businesses have the support and information they need to succeed in China and the rest of the world", Zhou said at the time.
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Alibaba co-founder and chief Jack Ma announced on September 7, 2018 he will leave from the Chinese e-commerce giant on Monday. He helped build it into a $420 billion company with more than 500 million Chinese customers who use the site to purchase everything from clothes to cement.
Ma graduated from the Hangzhou Teachers College with a major in English-language education, and went on to teach at another university in the city, where Alibaba is still headquartered. He was released and has since returned to Beijing, where JD.com is based.
Ma said he sees himself as an accidental executive. He owns a 6.4 percent stake of Alibaba, according to securities filings, but has considerably more sway over the company thanks to its complicated legal structure.
He was an English teacher before starting Alibaba in 1999 and he founded Alibaba alongside 17 other people. He started Alibaba from his flat in Hangzhou with a group of friends. But it did not take off until it began the Taobao marketplace in 2003, which merchants used to sell goods directly to consumers.