Risk and FinanceTechnology & Robotics

Jack Ma: As the founder leaves, Alibaba begins a new era

Alibaba chairman Jack Ma is due to step down from Tuesday’s e-commerce giant, marking the company’s end of an age.

In 1999, he co-founded Alibaba and it has become one of the largest internet companies in the world. The achievement of Mr Ma and his colorful style made him one of the most recognizable entrepreneurs in China.

He will be replaced by Daniel Zhang, presently chief executive of Alibaba, as executive chairman. The company is now valued at $480 billion (£ 389 billion) and, according to Forbes, Mr Ma is the wealthiest person in China with a net worth of $38.6 billion. He is also the first founder to step down from his business among a generation of prominent Chinese internet businessmen.

“I think it will be very hard to replace somebody like Jack Ma,” said Rebecca Fannin, author of a book on China’s technology titans.

“He is one of a kind. He is the Steve Jobs of China.”

What’s next for Mr. Ma?

The 55-year-old after he steps down is anticipated to concentrate on philanthropy and education. Mr Clark said that he has gradually introduced specialists in technology and finance to Alibaba and more lately that Mr Ma has “deliberately edged out.” Without its co-founder, these movements are anticipated to guarantee a more seamless transition for Alibaba to a future.

Mr Zhang is nothing like his predecessor, silent, unassuming and known to shy away from the spotlight. Mr Zhang is supposedly renowned inside Alibaba as Xiaoyaozi, a character’s name in a Chinese novel of martial arts. It implies the “unfettered one”— something that remains out of fights but is good in training others.

That reputation will come in handy as he manages Alibaba through some of his most challenging times, probably. The Chinese market is slowing down, making two-thirds of its income. At the same moment, international expansion efforts have been struggling.

Chinese firms ‘ US scrutiny is blocking their development in the West. Analysts claim that knowing how to operate in local markets and with local individuals is a challenge for the Chinese business in areas of South East Asia and India. Then in Hong Kong, allegedly owing to pro-democracy demonstrations there, there is the postponed multi-billion dollar government offering.

Yet the biggest challenge facing Mr Zhang may be to live up to the picture of Mr Ma himself, a person who enjoyed the respect and recognition of both his employees and the international community.

Article originally featured by BBC.

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