Chinese billionaire Jack Ma reportedly retiring from Alibaba on Monday

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma reportedly retiring from Alibaba on Monday

As he prepares to leave the company, Ma is among China's richest men with a net worth estimated by Forbes at $38.6 billion.

Ma has thrived in the spotlight as he became a much sought-after guest for conferences around the world, even as tensions between China and the U.S. have risen over trade.

The day Jack Ma will be stepping down, September 10, is also celebrated as Teacher's Day in China. "His retirement will be interpreted as frustration or concern whether he likes it or not". Morley brought young Ma to Australia in 1985 for his first overseas trip, when he spent almost a month in Newcastle, an experience which the Chinese businessman said had "totally changed my future".

"The first time I used the internet, I touched on the keyboard and I find 'well, this is something I believe, it is something that is going to change the world and change China", Mr Ma once said in an interview.

He said: "There's a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates". He turns 54 on Monday, which is a holiday in China known as Teacher's Day, reported AFP.

Huge conglomerates like Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and JD.com are China's equivalent of western tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Google.

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Ma's retirement comes at an tough time for the Chinese tech industry.

He retired as Alibaba's chief executive in 2013, eventually handing the reins to his protege Daniel Zhang, but he remained active within the company, providing strategic direction as chairman. "On a day-to-day basis, Alibaba shareholders probably have little to fear should the charismatic Ma pull back a bit further".

In 1999, Jack Ma along with 17 others had founded Alibaba in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

The business began as an online business-to-business marketplace and later extended to consumer sales in 2003. It also hold stakes in several Chinese media companies, including the microblogging site Weibo. But he's remained very involved in the company he founded. Ant Financial has revenues of about $40 billion a year.

Alibaba's growth and Ma's wealth track changes in modern China, in which a burgeoning urban middle class has more money to spend while authorities allowed large accumulations of wealth, especially when connected to forward-thinking enterprises. Initially developed as a business-to-business e-commerce solution. But its efforts to muscle into the United States largely have not been successful. Last year, he met U.S. President Donald Trump, who described him as "smart" and "open minded".

Ma said he sees himself as an accidental executive.

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