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On his last day before retiring, Alibaba’s Jack Ma returned to the company to visit his colleagues. What was once a mere familiar entry into the building quickly turned into a mad crowd of fans surrounding his every move, as if he were the rockstar of his own concert. Staff took their phones in a flash to try and snap a picture of the Chinese E-commerce titan.
The date was September 9. A date Alibaba staff will forever remember.
At only 55 years old on September 10 - which happens to be Teacher’s Day - Jack Ma is officially stepping down as Chairman of Alibaba. He is expected to remain on the boards of directors until the company’s annual meeting in 2020, after which he will be named a “permanent partner of Alibaba”.
Although it hasn’t been confirmed, there will most likely be a handover ceremony on the same day as Jack Ma’s official retirement between him and CEO Daniel Zhang (Zhang Yong) at Alibaba’s 20th anniversary party in Hangzhou.
Ever since starting a business in China in 1999, Alibaba has grown into China's most valuable Internet companies, with an impressive portfolio of homegrown brands that includes Taobao, Tmall, Alipay, and delivery service Eleme among other products and services. Its wide range of core businesses, such as cloud computing, digital media and entertainment, business innovation, and ecological services, affects all aspects of Chinese people’s lives, from travel and shopping to paying for water and electricity bills.
During his 20-year tenure at Alibaba, Jack Ma coined many "new words", which have exerted a profound influence on modern society and penetrated the lives of common folks.
Following his departure, the Alibaba team braces itself for heavy duties and responsibilities to take over. But one thing is certain: its journey is far from being over.