Alibaba e-commerce group president, Jack Ma, is set to step down on Tuesday 17/9 from Alibaba, starting a new era for the Chinese technology giant.
Alibaba is considered a Chinese multinational conglomerate holding company specializing in e-commerce, retail, Internet, and technology.
Who is Jack Ma
Born to a poor family in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Mr Ma began his career as a teacher.
He bought his first computer at the age of 33 and was surprised when no Chinese beers turned up in his first online search for “beer”.
With no background in computing, Mr Ma co-founded Alibaba in his apartment, having convinced a group of friends to invest in his online marketplace.
It was not the first time he had tried to get a start-up off the ground.
He saw the promise of the internet quite early on, but it took a while for him to have a vehicle.
Alibaba’s market value is now estimated at $ 480 billion, and Jack is the richest man in China, with a net worth of $ 38.6 billion, according to Forbes magazine’s annual list of the world’s richest people.
He is also the first of his generation of prominent Internet company founders to step down.
Alibaba Progress Expectations
The 55-year-old is expected to turn his attention to philanthropy and education after stepping down as president of Alibaba.
Duncan Clark, who wrote a book on Jack and is also chairman of investment advisory firm PDA China, says Jack is consciously pulling out of Alibaba; he has gradually brought in technology and finance experts to the company.
These steps will ensure a smooth transition to the future of Alibaba in the absence of one of its founders.
Zhang is unlike his predecessor, Jack. He is quiet, humble and does not like the lights.
Inside the company, Zhang is called Xiaoyaozi, the hero of one of the Chinese martial arts novels, which means “free heat” – a person who shuns himself from fighting but innovates to train others.
This reputation will be in balance. Zhang is running Alibaba at a difficult time when the Chinese market is slowing down.
At the same time, the company faces difficulties in expanding internationally under strict US control over Chinese companies in the West.
In parts of Southeast Asia and India, analysts say the ability to deal with local markets and people is a challenge for the Chinese company.
A multi-billion-dollar IPO in Hong Kong has been delayed by pro-democracy protests.
But Zhang’s biggest challenge may be to reach the level of Jack, a man who is respected and loved by his colleagues and the international community.