Ma’s suggestion to his successor will be to focus on India that is not yet saturated like China.
One of the world's richest entrepreneurs and one of China's best-known business figures, Jack Ma plans to shift his focus to education and return to teaching after he steps down as Alibaba Group’s chairman in September 2019.
In a letter released by Alibaba, Ma announced that he would be succeeded by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Daniel Zhang.
According to a report by Bloomberg, Ma revealed his future plans which include returning to his first love before starting the e-commerce empire -- teaching.
In a letter to shareholders, Ma said that he still has lots of dreams to pursue.
“Those who know me know that I do not like to sit idle. I plan on continuing my role as the founding partner in the Alibaba Partnership and contribute to the work of the partnership. 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 realised?!,” Ma added.
Before moving into the business world with Alibaba’s founding almost 20 years ago, Ma was an English teacher.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Ma currently has a net worth of around $40 billion.
Born 1964, to Chinese traditional musician-storytellers, living in Hangzhou, Ma started Alibaba.com in 1999 as a business-to-business marketplace. It was then backed by $60,000 from 18 co-founders.
What Ma’s exit means for India?
Ma -- who will remain on Alibaba's board of directors and continue to mentor the company's management after retirement.
During his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015, he had discussed ways to empower small businesses in India.
Alibaba's diversified portfolio in India include investments in digital payments platform Paytm, in Cloud computing via Alibaba Cloud, in the digital media space via UCWeb and several innovation initiatives that makes the country an attractive destination for the USD 420-billion conglomerate.
Alibaba is also increasing its footprint in the government sector.
On September 3, the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Alibaba Cloud to adopt cloud computing frameworks within the government model.
The MoU envisages leveraging Alibaba's Cloud and Smart City technologies for sustainable farming, integrated traffic management, smart city management, small and medium enterprises and skill development programmes.
Alibaba has been making inroads into India. This provides massive opportunity to the firm owing to the growing internet and smartphone user base amid an increasing digital drive across enterprises in India.
Hence, Ma’s suggestion to his successor could be to focus on India as it is not yet saturated like China.
Zhang had earlier said that India is a ‘very important’ market for Alibaba in its global strategy."Globalisation is one of our key strategies for Alibaba. As part of this strategy, India is a very important topic. India is a very important market for us to look at," Zhang had said.