Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire on Monday

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire on Monday

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire on Monday

Alibaba is China's largest corporation and, with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange, is now valued at $420 billion.

"I'm sure he'll be just as involved as he has been in his chairman role, even if he doesn't have the formal title", said Carter.

Huge conglomerates like Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and JD.com are to China what Facebook and Google are to the United States. "I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier", Ma said during an interview last week with Bloomberg Television. 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. Ma, who founded Alibaba in 1999, stepped down as chief executive in 2013. One of those is entertainment, through its Alibaba Pictures arm, which owns a stake in Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, and through its hugely popular movie-ticket sales app, Tao Piao Piao.

His retirement would mark "the beginning of an era" for him, one in which he could concentrate on charitable activities in education, a field close to his heart, he said in the interview.

"I don't think it means that much, frankly".

Alibaba did not respond to requests for comment. But Ma on Thursday told Bloomberg TV that he was mulling an early retirement similar to Bill Gates' early exit from Microsoft. According to the paper current CEO Daniel Zhang is a "candidate" to replace Ma, who plans to pursue philanthropy in education.

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Mr Ma is the first of his generation of rich tech bosses to retire as Chinese business bosses often run their empires well into their 80s.

Seeing an opportunity for small businesses to buy and sell their goods online, he started Alibaba, initially running the company out of his apartment in the eastern city of Hangzhou, where the company's headquarters remains.

The company's value has soared in recent years thanks to a growing portfolio that includes cloud computing, films, electronic payments and retail.

Ma has inspired strong devotion among his employees and users, drawing comparisons with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs - although he practiced a more open management style.

This year, regulators shot down a $1.2 billion bid for money transfer service Moneygram International Inc (MG.O) by Ant Financial on national security grounds, which the company said was related to "geopolitical" changes.

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