Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma will retire from the company next week

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, China’s richest person and the most instrumental builder of one of the country’s most successful businesses, will retire from the company next week to focus on philanthropy, The New York Times reported Friday evening. Ma, who is 53 years old, stared Alibaba in 1999 and helped grow it into a $420 billion business that has been instrumental in shaping how Chinese citizens purchase and pay for online goods. He owns a 6.4 percent stake in the company, giving him a net worth of more than $40 billion.

Alibaba, largely seen as the Amazon of China, began as an online business-to-business marketplace, though it began to grow aggressively with the launch of the direct-to-consumer marketplace Taobao in 2003. Alibaba has…

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