In an interview with The New York Times, Ma said it was time for him to focus on his first passion: education. He said he would be spending more of his time and fortune focused on education.
Ma told the newspaper that his retirement "is not the end of an era but "the beginning of an era".
The announcement is likely to send shock waves through the Chinese technology industry.
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Some Republicans have pushed back on Trump's suggestion that the official who penned the op-ed committed treason. Whether the New York Times should have published an anonymous op-ed is an interesting question .
Richard Liu, the billionaire founder of Alibaba's main competitor JD.com, was briefly arrested in the U.S. over a rape allegation last week. Shares in the company dropped this week after it emerged that USA police had opened an investigation into the claims, which Liu denied through his lawyers. He owns a 6.4 percent stake of Alibaba, according to securities filings, but has considerably more sway over the company thanks to its complicated legal structure.
Ma was born in September 1964 to Chinese traditional musician-storytellers living in Hangzhou, an ancient capital that has become a global hi-tech hub and bastion of entrepreneurship, in part because of Alibaba's base there. He started Alibaba.com in 1999 as a business-to-business marketplace, backed by $60,000 from 18 co-founders. Alibaba later rolled out Alipay, an online payment service, to facilitate transactions in a country where few people had credit cards.
The company, still headquartered in his hometown, initially allowed businesses to sell products to each other online but soon morphed into China's largest online retail market.
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Now the president has turned against Nike , which is making the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback one of its main spokesmen. Williams, who teaches sports marketing at Indiana University.
Among China's biggest companies, Alibaba is viewed as one of the firms with the deepest ranks of management talent. Ant Financial has revenues of about $40 billion a year.
Ma is following a similar path as Bill Gates, who has dedicated himself to philanthropy after retirement, and has cited Microsoft's co-founder as an inspiration in an interview with Bloomberg TV recently.
Speaking at an event in Australia in 2017, Ma explained his view on philanthropy. "I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier", he said.
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This is despite the optimism they showed earlier in the year when they became the first Wall Street firm to clear Bitcoin futures. Digital currencies often move in tandem, pulled by the fortunes of bitcoin - which far exceeds its peers in terms of market size.
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