Jack Ma hints at retirement in 10 years

May 21, 2015 12:14
A fan hugs Jack Ma during an Alibaba event. Ma said he looks forward to being with his wife and children by the time he is 60. Photo: Internet

Jack Ma is hinting at retirement in 10 years, saying it would be nice to be with his wife and children, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Thursday.

In the meantime, he said he will do his best job as chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the world's most valuable e-commerce company. 

Ma, 50, was speaking to a group of young entrepreneurs at a conference in his native Hangzhou, capital of eastern China's Zhejiang province.

He said it would be ideal to not think of anything else by 40 or 50.

But by 60, it would be good to "have your wife and kids by your side", he said.

"When will I step down? I think it is better for me to do my best as [Alibaba] chairman for the time being," Ma said, adding he has left the day-to-day running of the company to others.

Ma recently appointed 43-year-old Daniel Zhang to replace long-time chief executive Jonathan Lu, a move widely seen as part of succession planning.

Zhang also serves as chief executive of Alibaba subsidiary Taobao.com and is about to become chairman of Intime Retail Group Co. Ltd. (01833.HK) in which Alibaba bought a stake last year.

Ma brushed off concerns his e-commerce empire might implode amid a slew of lawsuits by global brands including Gucci and YSL which accuse Alibaba of selling counterfeit versions of their products.

"I have learned a lot from all the problems in my life," Ma said, referring to Alibaba's challenges.

Translation by Vey Wong

[Chinese version中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal