Jack Ma says goodbye to Alibaba on its 20th anniversary, as the teacher in him heads back to school

Founder of Alibaba group Jack Ma arrives for the Tech for Good summit in Paris. World leaders and tech bosses meet Wednesday in Paris to discuss ways to prevent social media from spreading deadly ideas. AP/PTI(
  • Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, retires as the Chairman on a day that coincides with three major things – his 55th birthday, Alibaba’s 20th anniversary and Teacher’s Day in China.
  • Alibaba is today worth $480 billion.
  • Ma will reportedly turn to education and philanthropy next.
Jack Ma was an English teacher who built the e-commerce behemoth Alibaba. And, today he is leaving his post of Chairman of the company. Ma, one of China’s richest men, leaves as his company is valued at a massive $480 billion.

Today, on his 55th birthday, which also happens to be the company’s 20th anniversary, Ma will say goodbye to his employees. On the same platform, Ma had once surprised his employees by dressing up as Michael Jackson, and dancing to his tunes.

Ma’s legacy will be carried forward by his trusted partner Daniel Zhang, who is currently the CEO of Alibaba. However, Ma will continue to be on the board of Alibaba, holding on to 6.22% shares of the company.

Ma – the leader in every list

Be it the world’s most influential people list by TIME Magazine or the richest by Forbes, Ma has found a mention in every other ‘list’.

The billionaire Ma however comes from humble beginnings. As a student, he hated Maths and had taken up English to later on become an English teacher with meagre earnings.

He founded Alibaba in 1999, in his one bedroom apartment in Hangzhou, China. Today, Alibaba is one of the biggest e-commerce companies in the world. Alibaba’s first IPO in 2014 in the US created history in the market, as it raised $25 billion.

The hard taskmaster with a soft spot for love

Throughout his journey with Alibaba, Ma has been a strong advocate for China’s 996 working hours (9 am to 9 pm for 6 days a week). Although it earned him a lot of criticism, Ma has always spoken openly about long working hours.

However, another thing that brought Ma’s other side was his belief on the Emotional Quotient for business. He has famously said that there are 3 important aspects for being successful – Intelligence Quotient, Emotional Quotient and Love Quotient.

During a recent debate with Elon Musk, Ma said, “ If you want to be successful, you have to have EQ and IQ. In the future if you want to survive you need to have the Love Quotient, otherwise you cannot survive in the time of AI.”

Ma’s return to school

Ma will now go back to his roots, to education and philanthropy through his Jack Ma Foundation which was started in 2014. “Before I'm 70 years old, I can do something in other fields, in areas like education," Ma had said earlier.

A teacher at heart, Ma had also founded Hupan University in his hometown Hangzhou, China in 2015.
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