11:51 GMT +324 September 2019
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    Jack Ma during the Final Session of the International Discussion Club Valdai

    Netizens Abuzz Over Alibaba Founder Jack Ma's Shock Resignation

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    In a recent trade limitations exchange, the US Trade Representative stated in late August that it was increasing the rate of additional duties from 10 to 15 percent for the Chinese imports that were covered by Washington’s $300 billion tariff action published on 20 August.

    Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma, who appeared to be one of the central figures in  China's online retailing boom, stepped down as chairman of on Tuesday at a time when the second beggiest economy's fast-changing industry faces a bit of limbo amid the China-EU war of tariffs.

    The move came aas a bit of shock for the general public, bearing in mind the billionaire's comparatively young age:

    Some, menwhile, took a dig at "doing business" with China's central government, also bringing up Ma's meeting with his US colleague Elon Musk:

    "Alibyebye," another cheekily posted.

    According to Tai-Leung Chong, an associate economics professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Jack Ma "is a legend", "but his character is more suitable for being an opinion leader and a charming public speaker, than a manager." He went on say Alibaba is "pretty much on track, just like a fully grown adult." "A capable manager can run this company, his stepping down will not affect the profitability of the tech company," the professor summed up.

    Formerly a teacher of English, Ma is one of China's wealthiest and best-known entrepreneurs. He gave up his post on his 55th birthday as part of a succession announced a year ago to reportedly dedicate himslef to philanthropy, with the magnate remaining in the Alibaba Partnership as a member. Ma's successor as chairman is CEO Daniel Zhang, a former accountant that has been working for Alibaba for the past 12 years.

    The company has recently shifted focus to serving China's growing consumer market and expanded into online banking, entertainment and cloud computing, with domestic businesses making up almost 66% of its $16.7 billion in revenue in the quarter ending in June.

    Chinese retail sector is currently experiencing the effects of a tariff war that has raised the cost of US imports, with growth in online sales goign down to 17.8% in the first half of 2019.

    According to Alibaba, in the meantime,  the retal giant's revenues rose 42% over a year earlier in the quarter ending in June to $16.7 billion and profit rose 145% to $3.1 billion. Still, that was  slightly off as compared with 2018's full-year revenue growth of 51%.

    The US announced on 27 August, that additional duties will be up from 10 to 15 percent for those Chinese imports that are covered by Washington’s $300 billion tariff action unveiled on 20 August, prompting  Beijing to lodge a case against the US with the World Trade Organisation (WTO): the latest batch of tariffs, according to the ministry, violated a deal reached by the presidents of China and the US during their talks in Japan's Osaka. 

    In a recent development in the year-long bilateral trade war, on 1 September, the US pressed with 15% duties on various Chinese goods, including footwear, smartwatches and flat-panel televisions, while as a tit-for-tat measure, China slapped new tariffs on US crude. 

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