Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire

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Ma's retirement comes after a torrid couple of weeks for his rival tech CEOs in China.

Alibaba Group is a Chinese multinational holding conglomerate specialising in e-commerce, retail, Internet, AI and technology. Alibaba made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, which remains the largest initial public offering (IPO) in history.

Ma is one of China's wealthiest men, with his net worth estimated at US$40 billion by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

"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. The Chinese e-commerce giant, since then is being managed by its current CEO Daniel Zhang, who is likely to succeed Ma after his retirement.

But in an interview with Bloomberg TV broadcast on Friday, Ma indicated that he had plans to soon retire and that he wanted to follow Microsoft founder Bill Gates as one of the world's most prolific philanthropists.

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 co-founded the Chinese internet retailer in 1999 and built it into an empire now worth $420 billion and making the former English teacher China's richest man worth about $40 billion.

He was an English teacher before starting Alibaba in 1999 and he founded Alibaba alongside 17 other people. His birthday also coincides with a the Chinese holiday of Teacher's Day, which celebrates educators.

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Jack Ma will remain on Alibaba's board of directors and continue to mentor the company's management.

Ma said he could never be as rich as Gates - but that he could retire earlier than Gates.

"A physical Alibaba headquarters is a key step in ensuring Australian businesses have the support and information they need to succeed in China and the rest of the world", Zhou said at the time.

A focus on education wouldn't surprise keen followers of Ma, who has spoken frequently of its importance to him.

He is one of the most colorful of China's growing crop of billionaires, performing a Michael Jackson-inspired dance routine at the company's 18th anniversary celebration a year ago, and starring in his own kung fu short film.

"It's the system which I think I have contributed to along with my team and this will be able to make the company last long", Ma said.

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