Jack Ma retires from Alibaba

Alibaba, China’s most valuable public tech company, will mark its 20th birthday on Tuesday with a rite of succession: its founder Jack Ma will retire as executive chairman and hand the reins to chief executive Daniel Zhang.

It is the first transition at the top of a big Chinese tech company — peers Tencent and Baidu are still run by their founders Pony Ma and Robin Li — and in many ways the toughest to pull off.

The 55-year-old Mr Ma, China’s richest man, is a charismatic leader who built Alibaba from a shared apartment into a company worth $462bn. His successor is a low-key former accountant.

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