THE billionaire co-founder of China’s e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba, will step down as executive chairman next week.
The New York Times is reporting that Jack Ma, China’s richest man, is retiring.
The Times said that in an interview, Ma said he planned to step down as executive chairman on Monday to pursue philanthropy in education.
He will remain on Alibaba’s board of directors.
Now 53, Ma first started Alibaba in 1999 in his apartment in the Chinese city of Hangzhou and is now among the richest people in the world.
He was 35 years of age at the time.
The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014 and has a market value of about billion ( billion).
It’s the world’s biggest e-commerce company by total value of the merchandise sold across its platforms, which include Taobao and TMall.
Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
His retirement was not the end of an era, the former English teacher said, but “the beginning of an era,” adding, “I love education.”
When Ma founded Alibaba, he had applied to more than 30 jobs and got rejected by all of them.
“In life, it’s not how much we achieved, it’s how much we’ve gone through the tough days and mistakes,” Ma previously told a group of young leaders invited to the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
“If you want to be successful, learn from the other people’s mistakes, don’t learn from the successful stories.”
As part of the alumni group linked to the Young LGobal Leaders network, Ma gave them advice on what they should focus on in the next 30 years of their careers.
“When you are 20 to 30 years old, you should follow a good boss [and] join a good company to learn how to do things properly,” Ma said.
“When you are 30 to 40 years old, if you want to do something yourself, just do it. You still can afford to lose, to fail.
“When you are 50 to 60 years old, spend time training and developing young people, the next generation.
“When you are over 60 years old, you better stay with your grandchildren.”