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Ma told Bloomberg earlier this week that he wanted to dedicate more of his time and fortune to philanthropy with the creation of a foundation in his own name focused on education, following in the footsteps of fellow billionaire Bill Gates.

Notably, while Ma had stepped down as the Alibaba CEO nearly eight years back, he remained the face of the company at top political and business events and he played an important role in devising the company's long term strategy. He co-founded the Chinese internet retailer in 1999 and built it into an empire now worth $420 billion and making the former English teacher China's richest man worth about $40 billion.

Ma will turn 54 years old on Monday, the day he is retiring.

Among China's biggest companies, Alibaba is viewed as one of the firms with the deepest ranks of management talent.

Ma stepped down as CEO of Alibaba in 2013. His birthday also coincides with a the Chinese holiday of Teacher's Day, which celebrates educators.

"There's a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates".

While Alibaba has become dominant in China, it has faced a tougher time expanding internationally.

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As per a Reuters report, while Ma's retirement marks a milestone in the company's history, analysts believe and industry insiders believe that it is highly unlikely that his involvement in the company will change significantly.

Jack Ma will remain on Alibaba's board of directors and continue to mentor the company's management.

Ma is one of China's wealthiest men, with his net worth estimated at US$40 billion by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. "This is something I think I can do much better than being CEO of Alibaba", he said. He was released and returned to China, although the investigation remains active.

Ma graduated from the Hangzhou Teachers College with a major in English-language education, and went on to teach at another university in the city, where Alibaba is still headquartered.

The Alibaba empire now spans well beyond online retail and payments to include cloud computing, digital media and entertainment, with sterling revenue growth that jumped another 61 percent in the quarter ending June 30.

As Beijing has increased its involvement in the private sector, Ma has shifted what he has said about China's government. However, in contrast to the American magnate, he wants to "retire earlier".


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