A former English and International Trade lecturer, Jack Ma has a net that worth of more than $40 billion, according to the Bloomberg reports, yet he is ready to move away from ruling the company and dedicate his fortune to the creation of a foundation in his name focused on education. In his interview for Bloomberg TV Ma said that he was inspired by Bill Gates.
“I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier,” Ma said in the interview, “I think someday, and soon, I’ll go back to teaching. This is something I think I can do much better than being CEO of Alibaba.”
While in multiple previous interviews Ma called himself an accidental executive, he had become one of China’s most recognized business leaders. After stepping down as the chief executive officer in 2013, he remains the public face of a more than $400 billion worth Alibaba Group company, which owns one of the most popular online payments providers Alipay and Chinese Twitter-like social media platform Weibo.
Asked when he will retire, Ma said with a smile that he will notify about it “very soon”. He also said that he prepared to put his fortune into a Jack Ma Foundation he had been preparing for 10 years. Ma had spoken frequently on the importance of education, even remembering his downfalls as a student, failing China’s national university exam twice.
“I was not considered a good student but I improved, we keep on learning all the time. So I want to devote most my time to this,” Ma recalled.
"People in China and America, one thing we have in common is the heart of love and respect,” Ma said, noting that this is a common language for two nations, “The first tech revolution caused WWI, the second caused WWII, now we are the third revolution, what’s gonna happen? It should be a war against poverty, disease et cetera.”
Although not giving any specific dates on his retirement and not announcing who will become the next Alibaba Group chairman in his place, the New York Times suggested that his official retirement is scheduled on Monday, which is his 54 birthday and also the Teacher’s Day in China. The Times also speculated that Alibaba Group current chief executive Daniel Zhang is the main candidate to succeed Ma. However, Ma would remain the possible influence on the company’s strategy in the upcoming years, owning a 6,4% stake in the company.