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Ma, who founded the company back in 1999, stepped down as the company's chief executive officer in 2013.

Earlier this week, Mr Ma told Bloomberg TV that he wanted to create a personal foundation, following in the footsteps of Microsoft's Bill Gates.

Ma, who boasts a net worth of almost $40 billion(€34 billion), making him China's richest man, said he would use his retirement to focus on his philanthropic work, mainly around education.

Ma, who turns 54 on Monday, has a net worth of more than US$40 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Since handing off his CEO title to Daniel Zhang, Ma has spent 40 per cent of the year travelling the globe to preach about the virtues of globalisation and inter-connectedness, the potential of technology to improve lives, and about philanthropy. Ma will also speak at the company's investor's day in mid September.

After being knocked back by U.S. venture capitalists in 1999, a cash-strapped Ma persuaded friends to give him $60,000 to start Alibaba, which operated out of an apartment in Hangzhou.


Xi has tightened control over businesses, especially ones that allow people to communicate over the Internet, and gone after billionaires who have mismanaged companies, allegedly committed crimes, such as bribery, or run afoul of Chinese politics. He will remain on Alibaba's board of directors. China's biggest e-commerce firm, it now has more than 66,000 full-time employees, according to the company's latest annual filing.

His retirement would mark "the beginning of an era" for him, one in which he could concentrate on charitable activities in education, a field close to his heart, he said in the interview.

Ma said he sees himself as an accidental executive.

"A physical Alibaba headquarters is a key step in ensuring Australian businesses have the support and information they need to succeed in China and the rest of the world", Zhou said at the time. "I love education", he said. He would take the company to astronomical heights and make it China's major e-commerce website in the years to come.

Alibaba group founder and CEO, Jack Ma. However, in contrast to the American magnate, he wants to "retire earlier".

"I sat down with our senior executives 10 years ago, and asked what Alibaba would do without me", Ma said in an interview with the South China Morning Post, which Alibaba owns.


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