Alibaba's Jack Ma to step down as chairman in 2019

Jack Ma's Message to Alibaba Employees Have Right Balance Between System People Culture

On Saturday, The South China Morning Post reported that Ma would unveil a succession plan, and in a press release on Sunday, Alibaba confirmed that Ma would continue as chairman of the company for 12 months, until September 10, 2019, before handing the chairmanship over to current CEO Daniel Zhang.

Zhang arrived at Alibaba in 2007 as the finance chief of the company's Taobao Marketplace, which he helped develop into one of the group's top businesses.

Ma will also complete his current term as a member of Alibaba Group's board of directors until its annual general meeting of shareholders in 2020. The company's stock has risen 87 percent over his tenure and Alibaba now has a market value of about $420 billion, eclipsing WeChat operator Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Has Alibaba peaked? Does Ma think China has peaked? I am delighted to announce the plan today thanks to the support of the Alibaba Partnership and our board of directors.

Crucially, Zhang oversaw the growth of retail platform Tmall, which has grown to be one of the company's most significant revenue drivers, squaring off against major Chinese e-commerce rival Inc. Through the Taobao and Tmall platforms, it is responsible for billions of dollars in sales and previous year saw daily package deliveries reach 55 million.

Alibaba is awesome not because of our business or scale or accomplishments.

In 2011, Alibaba faced complaints it had transferred control over Alipay to a company controlled by Ma without immediately informing shareholders including Yahoo and Softback. "He has understood Chinese consumer needs better than anyone and provided online services to meet them through convenience, entertainment and efficiencies".

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But the company's chairman is now retiring, telling The New York Times that he plans to step down on Monday - his 54th birthday - to devote his time to philanthropy focused on education.

Mr Zhang, who is from Shanghai, said in an interview with local business publication Yicai past year that he returned to the city once a week from Alibaba's Hangzhou headquarters to recharge and spend time with his wife. "The responsible thing to do for me and the company to do is to let younger, more talented people take over in leadership roles so that they inherit our mission", wrote the magnate, expressing a sense of generosity uncommon in today's hyper-competitive societies. "The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba", concluded Ma.

He said he wanted to dedicate more time to philanthropy through the Jack Ma Foundation.

Ma has remained the public face of Alibaba and is a charismatic advocate for his country's technology industry, showing off his wit and dispensing folksy wisdom on the global stage. It's possible that Ma will become only more visible in retirement. He has struck a careful balance even as tensions between China and the US have risen over trade.

His decision to quit the rapidly growing gaming industry followed an hour-long chat with Ma at Alibaba's headquarters in the eastern city of Hangzhou. He's happy to not be in the limelight", said Duncan Clark, managing director at Beijing tech advisory BDA and author of Alibaba: "The House that Jack Built.

Alibaba said the move was required to comply with Chinese regulations, but some financial analysts said the company was paid too little for a valuable asset.

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