Alibaba founder Jack Ma retires as world's richest man

Alibaba founder Jack Ma retires as world's richest man

Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, has officially retired at the age of 55.

Ma co-founded Alibaba in 1999 when he was just 35 years old. Since then the company has become one of the largest and most well-known tech giants on the planet with an estimated valuation of $480bn.

Alibaba also made Ma China’s richest person with an estimated net worth of $38.6 billion.

At a time of slowing domestic sales amid the US-China trade war, Alibaba will be run solely by Daniel Zhang whose appointment was announced last year.

Ma said of him: “He has the logic and critical thinking skills of a super computer, a commitment to his vision, the courage to wholeheartedly dare to take on innovative business models and industries of the future.”

Market analysts say his biggest challenge will be finding new areas of growth – with Alibaba recently entering the music-streaming sector. Alibaba has grown to become Asia’s most valuable listed company, with a current market capitalisation of $460bn (£373bn) employing more than 100,000 people.

It has expanded into financial services, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Ma announced he would retire last year when he said that most of his time and wealth after his retirement will be devoted to philanthropy and education through the Jack Ma Foundation.

To celebrate his birthday, Ma has rented out an Olympic-sized sports stadium in Hangzhou, where he founded Alibaba, to celebrate with his friends.

Unusually, investors will be watching Ma’s farewell party speech for any clue on whether he will retain a management role.

Before founding Alibaba, Ma was an English teacher. In a video posted on Monday, Ma said: “I’m the person always looking forward. I don’t want to look at the things back.”