Jack Ma, the Co-founder and chief executive of e-commerce giant Alibaba, said he would step down from the company next Monday to devote himself to the development of education in a philanthropic way.
In an interview with the US daily, the business magnet stated that his departure from Alibaba is not the end, but "the beginning of an era," and added that he will devote more of his time and fortune to education.
"I love education," said the tycoon.
Ma was an English teacher before founding the company in 1999, as of June 2018, Alibaba`s market cap stood at US$542 billion. Alibaba is a company that has transformed the way the Chinese people buy.
Alibaba made Ma the richest man in China, with a fortune of $ 40 billion, and also one of the most venerated by his countrymen, many of whom hung at their homes portraits of the businessman.
Ma retires from his post at a time when the strength of China`s economy has begun to complicate, with growth slowing and debt rising, in addition to trade disputes with the United States, which have intensified in recent months.
The businessman, who will remain on Alibaba`s board of directors, turns 54 on Monday, the day of his retirement, which also coincides with Teacher`s Day in China.
Jack Ma`s retirement is the first of a generation of Chinese entrepreneurs who have made a fortune using the internet as a tool, an unusual decision as many of their country`s tycoons remain in their posts for many years.