Jack Ma plans to step down from Alibaba on Monday

2018 Alibaba Xin Philanthropy Conference

Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma makes a speech at 2018 Alibaba Xin Philanthropy Conference

Talking exclusively to The New York Times, Jack Ma said that his retirement will mark the beginning of a new era.

Notably, while Ma had stepped down as the Alibaba CEO nearly eight years back, he remained the face of the company at top political and business events and he played an important role in devising the company's long term strategy.

He co-founded the company with 17 other people, some of whom were his students, out of his apartment in Hangzhou in eastern Zhejiang province.

In terms of the impact on the Chinese market and various business sectors, Duncan Clark, author of the book Alibaba: The House Jack Ma Built, explained:"He's a symbol of the health of China's private sector and how high they can fly whether he likes it or not".

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Alibaba is active in sectors across the Chinese economy and has transformed many. Ma turns 54 on Monday, which is also a holiday in China known as Teacher's Day.

Richard Liu, the billionaire founder of Alibaba's main competitor JD.com, was briefly arrested in the United States over a rape allegation last week. It is symbolically significant that his reported retirement coincides with Teachers' Day in China, and Ma used to teach English before becoming a business magnate.

He said: "There's a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates".

Huge conglomerates like Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and JD.com are to China what Facebook and Google are to the United States.

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According to Chinese media outlets, he belongs to a family which used to get just United States $ 40 each month to take care of its needs.Yet, Ma managed to graduate from Hangzhou Teachers College with a major in English-language education. Ma plans to remain on the board of directors of the Chinese e-commerce giant, which he co-founded in 1999 and which turned him into the richest man in China as of Friday. When asked if his retirement could happen as soon as this year, Ma smiled and said, "You'll know very soon". Ma stepped down as Alibaba's chief executive in 2013; the company's current chief executive is Daniel Zhang, who is a candidate to succeed Ma. Alibaba now also handles digital payments, online banking, cloud computing and digital media and entertainment.

"I've prepared a Jack Ma Foundation".

Speaking at an event in Australia in 2017, Ma explained his view on philanthropy. However, in contrast to the American magnate, he wants to "retire earlier".

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