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Jack Ma: Alibaba begins a new era of founding



  Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma will attend Image copyright
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Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma resigns from e-commerce giant on Tuesday, marking the end of an era for the company .

The former English teacher founded Alibaba in 1

999 and has become one of the world's largest internet companies.

Mr Ma's success and colorful style has made him one of China's most recognizable businessmen.

Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba, will replace him as CEO.

The company is now valued at $ 480 billion (£ 389 billion), and Mr Ma is China's richest man.

He is also the first founder of a generation of prominent Chinese internet entrepreneurs to retire from his company.

Who is Jack Ma?

Born to a poor family in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Ma began her career as a teacher.

He bought his first computer at the age of 33 and was surprised when no Chinese beer appeared in his first online search for "beer".

Without a background in data processing, Mr Ma co-founded Alibaba in his apartment, after convincing a group of friends to invest in his online marketplace.

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He oversaw the company's growth into an international heavyweight and the New York listing, which set the record as the world's largest public offering.

Mr Ma has a net worth of $ 38.6 billion, ranking him among the world's richest billionaires, according to Forbes.

He also appears to enjoy the limelight and featured in an 2017 Alibaba event wearing a Michael Jackson-themed outfit.

What's next for Mr Ma?

The technology entrepreneur has said he wants to focus on philanthropy and education.

He told the New York Times last year that his retirement was not the end, but "the beginning of an era."

"I love education," he was quoted as saying.

The newspaper said he would continue on Alibaba's board and continue to mentor the company's management.

Quiet, unpretentious and known to shy away from the spotlight, Mr. Zhang is nothing like his predecessor.

Inside Alibaba, Mr Zhang is reportedly known as Xiaoyaozi, the name of a character in a Chinese martial arts novel. It means the "undeveloped" – someone who stays out of the fighting but is good at training others.

This reputation will come in handy as he guides Alibaba through some of the most challenging times. The Chinese market, where it earns two-thirds of sales, is declining.

At the same time, attempts have been made to expand internationally.

The US investigation of Chinese companies is blocking growth in the West. In parts of Southeast Asia and India, analysts say understanding how to work in local markets and with locals proves to be a challenge for the Chinese company.

Then there is a delayed multi-billion dollar public offer in Hong Kong, allegedly because of pro-democracy protests there.

Nevertheless, Zhang's greatest challenge may be to live up to the image of Ma himself, a man who enjoyed the respect and devotion of his employees as well as the international community.


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