Jack Ma, Alibaba Group Ltd co-founder and chairman has stepped down as the Chinese e-commerce Chairman on his 55th birthday ending 20-years reins over Alibaba wealth creation empire, to devote his time to philanthropy focused on education.
Ma, who turns 55 on Tuesday, was an English teacher before starting Alibaba in 1999 and built it into a multibillion-dollar internet colossus, becoming one of the world's richest men and a revered figure in his homeland. His company is now valued at $480bn (£389bn) and Ma is China's richest man, with a net worth of $41.8 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Ma, who gave up the title of CEO in 2013, said he now planned to devote his time and fortune to education. In an interview with Bloomberg TV released on Friday, he hinted at his retirement plans, saying he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, one of the world's most prolific philanthropists.
Ma is part of a generation of billionaire entrepreneurs who made their fortunes as China embraced the digital age, creating some of the country's largest and most successful companies in the space of little more than a decade.
Huge conglomerates like Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and JD.com are to China what Facebook and Google are to the United States.
Ma is the first of his generation of uber-wealthy tech bosses to retire, a rare move in a country where business figures often run their empires well into their 80s -- Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-Shing only retired in May at the age of 89.
(With PTI inputs)