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:
That's roughly 30 years younger than I'll be able to retire. Times are good in China.— Art Vandelay (@arthuravandalay) September 10, 2019
Great, so the guy who copied Amazon, PayPal and others with the support of his government steps away great.— Bill I (@Bill_I_Cloud) September 10, 2019
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:
Forced to sign it over to 5 unnamed parties, by the CPP. Keep an eye on Jack, he's going to be vanished.— Kurt (@DeCipherist) September 10, 2019
he needs time to relax and recoup. people are so out of the loop.— Sinh Nguyen (@SinhThienNguyen) September 10, 2019
After watching him with @elonmusk I think he should have retired a long time ago!— Tesla Tony (@TonyCrisostomo) September 10, 2019
This is what you get if you doing business with CCP. If you want freedom, you need to hangout all your money to the governments whenever they want. China is a gamble table that even you won, you cannot get your money out of them. This is China. #chinazism— sally cheung (@sallycheung16) September 10, 2019
"Alibyebye," another cheekily posted.
Happy birthday to Jack Ma who has stepped down today as CEO of @AlibabaGroup, on his 55th birthday 🎂 We were so honoured to have him on stage at #VivaTech! Best of luck for his future philanthropic activities and to his successor Daniel Zhang. pic.twitter.com/TKY4RgaEs0— #VivaTech (@VivaTech) September 10, 2019
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.