Alibaba’s Jack Ma making arrangements to step down in September 2019

Not retirement Jack Ma to unveil succession plan

"An Alibaba spokesman said Ma remains the company's executive chairman and will provide transition plans over a significant period of time", the SCMP wrote. He turns 54 Monday.

Ma described his successor as showing "superb talent, business acumen and determined leadership", adding that Zhang's "analytical mind is unparalleled.and he has the guts to innovate and test creative business models". This partnership has the right to nominate a majority of the directors to the board of the company.

The Alibaba CEO will inherit the role of chairman next year from Jack Ma, the flamboyant Chinese entrepreneur who built the $420 billion internet business from scratch.

The decision comes after Ma was rumored at the weekend to be on the verge of walking away from the company to concentrate on his charitable work and teaching. Alibaba, based out of Hangzhou, China, started as an e-commerce marketplace and expanded into other business areas, including cloud computing and digital payments through its affiliate Ant Financial.

Ma will also complete his current term as a member of Alibaba Group's board of directors until its annual general meeting of shareholders in 2020.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV released on Friday, Mr Ma hinted at his retirement plans, saying he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, one of the world's most prolific philanthropists.

"I've prepared a Jack Ma Foundation", he said.

Mr Zhang, who is from Shanghai, said in an interview with local business publication Yicai previous year that he returned to the city once a week from Alibaba's Hangzhou headquarters to recharge and spend time with his wife. I watched him give a pep rally to new management recruits, and it was tough to tell who was more enthusiastic, them or him. "I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier", Ma added.

Ma has remained the public face of Alibaba and is a charismatic advocate for his country's technology industry, showing off his wit and dispensing folksy wisdom on the global stage. To realize the dream behind this mission requires participation by a lot more people than just Jack Ma and persistent effort by generations of Aliren.

Ma has headlined conferences around the world and was one of the first foreign business leaders to meet with Donald Trump after his election.

But he has also said in the past that he isn't happy being the wealthiest person in China, where vast personal fortunes have only emerged in recent years and are subject to intense scrutiny. Such scandals haven't been associated with Ma or Alibaba.

Alibaba is part of a group of companies including games and social media giant Tencent Holding, search engine Baidu.com and e-commerce rival JD.com that have revolutionised shopping, entertainment and consumer services in China.

Alibaba said the move was required to comply with Chinese regulations, but some financial analysts said the company was paid too little.

But the executive, who has worked for Alibaba (BABA) for more than a decade, is considered a safe pair of hands. This is not only our intent from day one but I feel blessed to have this opportunity. I also want to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do.

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