UPDATE 4-Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire – New York Times

BEIJING (Reuters) – Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s (BABA.N) co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma will retire from the e-commerce company on Monday, as the former English teacher seeks to focus on philanthropy in education, the New York Times reported. Ma, one of China’s best known corporate leaders, will remain on the company’s board of directors and continue to mentor its management, the New York Times said on Friday. It was not immediately clear whether the company will appoint a new chairman. Ma, who founded Alibaba in 1999, stepped down as chief executive in 2013. He currently serves as the company’s international face at top political and bushiness’s events. Alibaba did not respond to requests for comment, but said in a social media posting on Saturday that Ma had met visiting African leaders and business partners in recent days. Ma, China’s third richest person with a net worth of $36.6 billion according to Forbes magazine, was quoted by the New York Times as saying his retirement was not the end of an era, but the beginning of one. While Ma’s retirement from a formal role is a milestone, analysts and industry professionals say it is unlikely Ma’s involvement will change significantly. “I don’t think it means that much, frankly. He stepped back from the CEO role about four or five years ago and very specifically made a comment about wanting the younger people to lead the company,” said Kevin Carter, founder of The Emerging Markets Internet exchange-trade fund. “I’m sure he’ll be just as involved as he has been in his chairman role, even if he doesn’t have the formal title,” said Carter. Ma, who turns 54 on Monday, oversees a number of charitable projects in education and environmental fields. He is a cult figure in China’s internet industry and has attracted a big following among entrepreneurs and in pop culture. At events, he is often met with screaming fans. TRICKY TIME Ma maintains a prominent international profile, frequently inviting global leaders to the company’s Hangzhou headquarters. Last year, he met U.S. President Donald Trump, who described him as “smart” and “open minded”. Alibaba was founded by 18 people led by Ma. China’s biggest e-commerce firm, it now has more than 66,000 full-time employees, according to the company’s latest annual filing. The company had a market value of about $420 billion as of Friday’s close. Ma also controls Ant Financial, which was valued at about $150 billion after a recent fundraising round. Ma is stepping back at a tricky time for Chinese tech firms. Authorities have increasingly sought to regulate the industry where Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK) are fighting a fierce battle for consumers. Trade tensions also present a new challenge for Chinese tech firms, especially those like Alibaba which are expanding overseas rapidly. This year, regulators shot down a $1.2 billion bid for money transfer service Moneygram International Inc MG.O by Ant Financial on national security grounds, which the company said was related to “geopolitical” changes. Ma’s decision also comes as a U.S. police investigation into an allegation of rape against Richard Liu, had of top rival JD.com Inc (JD.O), hammered its shares. Liu was arrested and then released without charge in the U.S. city of Minneapolis last week. Through his lawyers, he has denied any wrongdoing. Liu holds both chairman and chief executive roles at JD.com, and the incident spooked investors as there is no clear successor in the company. window.RCOM_Data = {“header_wgszrdpcoa”:{“template”:”header”,”evergreens”:[{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/news/world”,”name”:”World”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/finance”,”name”:”Business”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/finance/markets”,”name”:”Markets”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/politics”,”name”:”Politics”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.tv/”,”name”:”TV”,”sponsored”:false}],”topics”:[{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/subjects/myanmar-reporters”,”name”:”Detained In Myanmar”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/energy-environment”,”name”:”Energy u0026 Environment”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/brexit”,”name”:”Brexit”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/north-korea”,”name”:”North 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Cadell”,”journalist_url”:”/journalists/cate-cadell”}],”shareUrl”:”https://reut.rs/2MU3hCe”,”published”:1536361804,”updated”:1536381909,”path”:”/article/us-alibaba-moves/alibaba-co-founder-jack-ma-to-retire-new-york-times-idUSKCN1LN2R1″,”location”:”BEIJING”,”body”:”u003cpu003eBy Cate Cadellu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eBEIJING (Reuters) – Alibaba Group Holding Ltdu0027s (u003cspan idu003d”symbol_BABA.N_0″u003eBABA.Nu003c/spanu003e) co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma will retire from the e-commerce company on Monday, as the former English teacher seeks to focus on philanthropy in education, the New York Times reported.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eMa, one of Chinau0027s best known corporate leaders, will remain on the companyu0027s board of directors and continue to mentor its management, the New York Times said on Friday. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eIt was not immediately clear whether the company will appoint a new chairman. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eMa, who founded Alibaba in 1999, stepped down as chief executive in 2013. He currently serves as the companyu0027s international face at top political and bushinessu0027s events. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eAlibaba did not respond to requests for comment, but said in a social media posting on Saturday that Ma had met visiting African leaders and business partners in recent days.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eMa, Chinau0027s third richest person with a net worth of $36.6 billion according to Forbes magazine, was quoted by the New York Times as saying his retirement was not the end of an era, but the beginning of one.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eWhile Mau0027s retirement from a formal role is a milestone, analysts and industry professionals say it is unlikely Mau0027s involvement will change significantly. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003e”I donu0027t think it means that much, frankly. He stepped back from the CEO role about four or five years ago and very specifically made a comment about wanting the younger people to lead the company,” said Kevin Carter, founder of The Emerging Markets Internet exchange-trade fund.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003e”Iu0027m sure heu0027ll be just as involved as he has been in his chairman role, even if he doesnu0027t have the formal title,” said Carter.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eMa, who turns 54 on Monday, oversees a number of charitable projects in education and environmental fields. He is a cult figure in Chinau0027s internet industry and has attracted a big following among entrepreneurs and in pop culture. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eAt events, he is often met with screaming fans. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eTRICKY TIMEu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eMa maintains a prominent international profile, frequently inviting global leaders to the companyu0027s Hangzhou headquarters. Last year, he met U.S. President Donald Trump, who described him as “smart” and “open minded”.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eAlibaba was founded by 18 people led by Ma. Chinau0027s biggest e-commerce firm, it now has more than 66,000 full-time employees, according to the companyu0027s latest annual filing. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eThe company had a market value of about $420 billion as of Fridayu0027s close. Ma also controls Ant Financial, which was valued at about $150 billion after a recent fundraising round. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eMa is stepping back at a tricky time for Chinese tech firms.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eAuthorities have increasingly sought to regulate the industry where Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd (u003cspan idu003d”symbol_0700.HK_1″u003e0700.HKu003c/spanu003e) are fighting a fierce battle for consumers.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eTrade tensions also present a new challenge for Chinese tech firms, especially those like Alibaba which are expanding overseas rapidly. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eThis year, regulators shot down a $1.2 billion bid for money transfer service Moneygram International Inc MG.O by Ant Financial on national security grounds, which the company said was related to “geopolitical” changes.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eMau0027s decision also comes as a U.S. police investigation into an allegation of rape against Richard Liu, had of top rival JD.com Inc (u003cspan idu003d”symbol_JD.O_3″u003eJD.Ou003c/spanu003e), hammered its shares.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eLiu was arrested and then released without charge in the U.S. city of Minneapolis last week. Through his lawyers, he has denied any wrongdoing.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eLiu holds both chairman and chief executive roles at JD.com, and the incident spooked investors as there is no clear successor in the company.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003c/pu003en”,”attribution”:{“type”:”default”,”content”:”Reporting by Cate Cadell in Beijing, Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Leslie Adler”},”images”:[{“url”:”//s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180908u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302099588u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE87070″,”title”:”FILE PHOTO: Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma gestures as he attends the 11th World Trade Organizationu0027s ministerial conference in Buenos Aires”,”caption”:”FILE PHOTO: Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma gestures as he attends the 11th World Trade Organizationu0027s ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci/File Photo”},{“url”:”//s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180908u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302099592u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE87072″,”title”:”FILE PHOTO: Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group Holding, attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos”,”caption”:”FILE PHOTO: Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group Holding, gestures during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo”},{“url”:”//s3.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180907u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302031457u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE861S5″,”title”:”Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, gestures during the launch of Alibabau0027s office in Kuala Lumpur”,”caption”:”Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, gestures during the launch of Alibabau0027s office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia June 18, 2018. 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