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Alibaba boss Jack Ma to step down as chairman

By Joe McDonald ·

Jack Ma will step down as chairman of Alibaba next year (Chinatopix via AP)

The founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba has announced he will step down as the company's chairman next September.

Jack Ma said he will be succeeded by CEO Daniel Zhang, an 11-year veteran of the company. Mr Ma handed over the CEO post to Zhang in 2013 as part of what he said was a long-planned succession.

Mr Ma, a former English teacher, founded Alibaba in 1999 in a flat in the eastern city of Hangzhou to connect Chinese exporters with foreign retailers.

It expanded into consumer retailing, becoming the world's biggest e-commerce company by total value of goods sold, as well as online finance, cloud computing and other services.

Mr Ma (54) became one of China's most famous entrepreneurs and one of the world's richest. The Hurun Report, which follows China's wealthy, estimates his net worth at $37bn (£28.65bn). Its 2014 IPO of $25bn (£19bn) was the biggest ever by a Chinese firm.

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Jack Ma will step down as chairman of Alibaba next year (Chinatopix via AP)