According to a report on the New York Times, Ma stated pursuit of philanthropic endeavors focused on education as the reason for his retiring from the company.
Another report from The South China Morning Post, Ma would unveil a succession plan.
Confirming the report, Alibaba confirmed in a press release that to ensure a smooth transition, Ma would continue as chairman of the company for 12 months, until Sept. 10, 2019, before handing the chairmanship over to current CEO Daniel Zhang.
Even though he is stepping down by next year, Ma will still be involved in the company till 2020, during which he will serve on the board of directors.
Jack Ma co-foundered Alibaba with 17 others in 1999. Fast forward to this year and the company is now worth about $420 billion with more than 500 million Chinese customers who use the site to purchase everything from clothes to cement.
In terms of personal success, during his time at Alibaba, Ma has became the richest man in China worth more than $40 billion.
Jack Ma wrote to Alibaba customers and shareholders,
“Put a lot of thought and preparation into this succession plan for ten years. As for myself, I still have lots of dreams to pursue. Those who know me know that I do not like to sit idle … I also want to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do. The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things – because what if new dreams can be realized?”