Chinese billionaire Jack Ma confirms exit at Alibaba, announces successor

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Mr Ma, who turned 54 on Monday, was an English teacher before starting Alibaba in 1999 and building it into a multi-billion-dollar internet colossus, becoming one of the world's richest men and a revered figure in his homeland. Zhang, a former accountant, will also continue as CEO.

He took care not to project himself bigger than the CPC leadership though he has emerged as modern China's most revered corporate icon.

Zhang, 46, has been CEO since 2015 after serving as chief operating officer and is known as a key architect of Alibaba's "Singles Day", the November 11 event that has become the world's largest online shopping event.

He said Mr Zhang, who has been with Alibaba for eleven years, had demonstrated "superb talent" since taking over as chief executive.

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On September 3, the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Alibaba Cloud to adopt cloud computing frameworks within the government model.

"Ma is a lifetime partner in the Alibaba Partnership and is a member of its partnership committee", the statement added.

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The co-founder of the company, Ma, will however, remain as a board member of the Alibaba Group until the annual shareholder meet in 2020.

Since handing over the CEO role, Ma has concentrated on philanthropy and promoting Alibaba internationally at business and political events.

In 2014, he and co-founder Joe Tsai set up a charitable trust focusing on the environment and health, funded by share options they own that represented about 2 percent of Alibaba's equity at the time. Three years later, the foundation for education pledged to donate $30m to a 10-year initiative to support teaching in rural China.

"Those who know me know that I do not like to sit idle".

At the time, Mr Trump hailed Jack Ma as a "great, great entrepreneur, one of the best in the world", who loves both the United States and China.

Alibaba is also increasing its footprint in the government sector.

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