China’s richest man and business magnate with an inspirational success story announced ahead of his 54th birthday on Monday that he was planning to take a leaf out of Bill Gates’ book and retire early to focus on philanthropy.
Moving on to Philanthropy
Alibaba’s Jack Ma, who rose from a $12 monthly salary to the richest man in China, celebrated his 54th birthday with a huge announcement. The e-commerce juggernaut said that he would take his exit from Alibaba next year to focus on his other big passion: philanthropy.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Ma revealed that he has already started laying the groundwork for a foundation similar to Bill Gates’, which will become his full-time job after he retires from Alibaba next year.
The Chinese billionaire explained that the foundation will be in his own named and will follow Gates’ footsteps in creating a more prosperous world for future generations. As a former educator, Ma says that he’s dedicate most of his time and resources towards bettering the education system around the globe.
According to Bloomberg’s billionaire index, 54-year-old Ma’s net worth tops $40 billion. What’s even more awe-inspiring is his journey from a struggling teacher on $12 per month salary to the most recognized business tycoons in China, and around the world.
Ma says that his success is somewhat ‘accidental’, and it all started when he entered the corporate world 20 years ago with nothing but Alibaba’s founding. Today, his company has turned into a leading player in the e-commerce industry, competing directly with the likes of Amazon.
Love for Teaching
In 2013, Ma stepped down as CEO of Alibaba, but kept the title of the board’s Chief Executive. Even after relinquishing control of his company, Ma remained the face of Alibaba whose market value has climbed to $500 billion today.
Ma says that even though he can never be as wealthy as Bill Gates, he has a lot of learn from the Microsoft co-founder in terms of philanthropy and early retirement. He even expressed his desire to return to the world of education and start teaching once again. That, he believes, is the one thing he can do better than running a multi-billion dollar company.
Although Ma didn’t reveal when exactly he’s planning to retire or what he planned to do with the wealth he has amassed over the past couple of decades, he did say that his Jack Ma foundation has been in the works for the past 10 years.
Ma was born to a poor family in the city of Hangzhou in Communist China. The old capital has now been transformed into a global hub of technology and entrepreneurship – and Ma has a role to play in the transformation of his hometown.
Determination in the Face of Rejection
In 1999, after failing in his first two businesses, Jack Ma decided start a unique ecommerce platform that allowed wholesale suppliers to connect with customers and retailers over the internet. He gathered 17 of his investor friends in his tiny apartment to pitch the idea for his business. Within a few months, Alibaba was born.
Alibaba is known for its strong management team and even after Ma steps down, he is likely to play a defining role in making strategies at the top-level of the company. Kaiyuan Capital’s Brock Silvers says that while there’s no reason to not believe that Ma will retire in the near future, this news shouldn’t be a cause of concern among investors since the charismatic executive is leaving the company in good hands.
People who have followed Ma’s story know how much education and philanthropy mean to him. He has often spoken about their importance and has even recalled some of his shortcomings during student life years ago. The Alibaba co-founder failed his university entrance exam twice and was rejected from Harvard 10 times.
He says that even though he wasn’t the best student, he learned to improve with time. Since education is the most important aspect of growth and success, Ma wants to devote his post-retirement life to making sure that everyone has access to fair and equal educational standards.