Founder of Alibaba and China’s richest man steps down from his €417bn empire

10th September 2019 

Jack Ma has been called the most flamboyant tech founder in the world, having starred in a kung fu movie while also performing at a music festival.

Jack Ma, China’s richest man and the founder of Alibaba, is stepping down from his role as chairman of the company. The €417 bn ($460bn) Alibaba group is known for being the largest e-commerce group in the world.

The entrepreneur is personally worth €34.4bn ($38.6bn), according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, and is known for his fondness of highly extravagant celebrations, including mass employee weddings and music performances. Mr Ma’s net worth is currently the highest of anybody else in China, and 21st in the world.

His farewell party, according to Business Insider, is taking place in a 80,000-seat stadium.

Mr Ma has hand-picked Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang to take over his role as chairman. Mr Zhang is not expected to have an easy transition in view of the ongoing trade war between the USA and China, as well as a slowing e-commerce industry in China.

Mr Ma founded the Alibaba empire some 20 years ago together with 17 others in a small apartment in 1999. He was formerly an English teacher, after which he co-founded the company. Alibaba began by selling Chinese goods around the world, but has since shifted its focus to the domestic Chinese market in light of the country’s booming economy.

According to Reuters, Alibaba currently employs more than 100,000 people.

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