Alibaba’s Jack Ma Steps Down As Industry Gets Unpredictable

Jack Ma, who founded Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest e-commerce company, is stepping down as chairman at a time when the rapidly changing industry faces uncertainty amid a US-Chinese trade war.

Alibaba co-founder Ma stepped down as executive chairman on Tuesday, fulfilling a pledge to retire on his 55th birthday. He will stay on as a member of the Alibaba Partnership, a group of 36 people with the right to nominate a majority of the company’s board of directors.

Despite talks of a “low-key” farewell, Jack Ma tearfully bowed out of his 20-year tenure at Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba with huge party and musical performance for 60,000 employees in his hometown of Hangzhou, Reuters reports. China’s richest man donned a wig and a leather jacket for part of the four-hour event that also marked the firm’s 20th anniversary.

Jack Ma, who built a $38.5 billion fortune, hands the reins to Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang. The company has shifted its focus to serving China’s growing consumer market. Domestic businesses accounted for 66 per cent of its USD 16.7 billion in revenue in the quarter ending in June. His outgoing statements included a hope that his company would play a responsible and kind role in society, while the e-commerce firm, which is worth $460 million, adapted six new core values, including respecting the work-life balance of its staff.