Alibaba retirement plan a decade in the making: Jack Ma

The boss of Chinese largest e-commerce operator announced earlier this month that he will step down in 2019.
Written by Cyrus Lee, Contributor

Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who recently announced he will remain executive chairman for another 12 months until September 10, 2019, said his retirement plan is not an abrupt decision but a deliberate choice.

It was as early as 2005 when Alibaba purchased Yahoo China's stake that he knew that he would leave the company some day, Ma said during an Alibaba event for investors hosted in Hangzhou on Tuesday.

who founded Alibaba in 1999 and develops it into a mega online shopping platform in China,

Alibaba aims to be in businesses for 102 years, but no one will be able to be CEO for that song, therefore the company needs a heritage system, a strong team, a model to carry on the business, Ma said during a speech on Tuesday, according to a Sina news report.

"It's not a sudden decision, but a deliberate decision that I've been preparing for 10 years," said Ma.

The founder of Alibaba -- one of the two mega Chinese technology giants which rival fiercely with Shenzhen-based Tencent, announced last week that he would hand over the keys of Asia's most valuable company to CEO Daniel Zhang in an unprecedented succession plan within the company.

Zhang will be promoted to executive chairman on September 10 next year, while Ma remains a director on the board and a permanent member of the Alibaba Partnership, according to the plan unveiled on September 10 when Ma was also celebrating his 54th birthday.

Ma also rebutted rumors which suggested he was stepping down was due to health issues or pressure from the government.

One year later, he will still be a partner in Alibaba and a guardian of Alibaba culture, he said, adding that he will devote himself to education, public welfare and other businesses.

Ma said people need learn to let go if they really love the company.

"I know it's not easy to run a company like Alibaba, and I'm 100 percent sure Zhang Yong will do better than I do," Ma was quoted in the Sina news report.

"Many founders dare not leave the company, but I can leave with ease because I know my successor will do better than I," he said.

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