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Alibaba’s Co-Founder Jack Ma is Retiring from the Company

China’s richest man is Jack Ma, and he’s also the co-founder of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba (NYSE:BABA). The 54-year old co-founder and chairman of the company has announced that he plans to resign from Alibaba in order to pursue philanthropy in education.

Mr. Ma was formerly an English teacher before he started Alibaba back in 1999. He built the company into a $420 billion e-commerce company into a giant. Ma himself has a net worth of over $40 billion.

Mr. Ma remarked in an interview that his retirement is the “beginning of an era” and that he would be spending more time on education, which he loves. He cited the philanthropy of Bill Gates and his wife but has said he would never be as rich as Gates.

He will remain on the company’s board of directors and will continue to mentor management. He had already stepped down from CEO as the company in 2013 when Daniel Zhang took his place, who is also a candidate to succeed Mr. Ma.

It was in August that Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) reported first quarter financial results. For the three months that ended July, Alibaba reported revenue of 80.92 billion yuan, versus 80.75 billion yuan expected and adjusted earnings per share of 8.04 yuan, versus 8.15 yuan expected. Revenue saw a jump of 61% YOY.

“We think Alibaba is years ahead of any competitor in driving digital commerce forward,” MKM Partners analyst Rob Sanderson remarked. The firm has a “buy” rating with a $280 price target on Alibaba shares.

“Of greater consequence is Alibaba’s foray into digitizing offline commerce (new retail), which we think is even further ahead and has potential to multiply Alibaba’s addressable market,” he continued.

Stifel’s Devitt wrote recently, “Despite the Chinese government’s efforts to boost lending over the past month, it appears U.S. tariffs are having a larger impact on the retail landscape than we had previously anticipated,” Devitt wrote. He’s upbeat about Alibaba and peer JD.com in over the long term but warns of “near-term volatility as trade-related headwinds and negative sentiment persist.”

“We remain comfortable with the lower long-term margin profile as it will allow the company to generate a higher level of absolute profit over the long term and should lead to increased efficiencies across Alibaba’s entire ecosystem,” Devitt added. He has a “buy” rating on the stock with a $256 price target.

Mr. Ma owns a 6.4 percent stake of Alibaba, according to securities filings.

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