Business World

Jack Ma tearfully retires from Alibaba; emotional scenes at exit ceremony


HANGZHOU: Jack Ma, the founder of e-commerce giant, Alibaba tearfully left the company he founded some 20 years ago in a small apartment in Eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. At an event marking his exit and attended by thousands of employees, he donned a guitar and a rock star wig.

The billionaire CEO handed charge to the CEO in line Mr. Daniel Zhang, thereby fulfilling his promise of retirement made a year ago.

While the 80,000 capacity stadium brimmed with Alibaba employees, guests and other members of the public, various performers paid tribute to Mt. MA in a musical show.

Alibaba’s billionaire executive chairman delivered on his promise made a year ago and handed over the charge to CEO Daniel Zhang at a four-hour celebration in an 80,000 capacity stadium.

Addressing guests and employees, Mr. Ma revealed his plans for the future when he said, “After tonight I will start a new life. I do believe the world is good, there are so many opportunities, and I love excitement so much, which is why I will retire early,”

At one time, Mr. Ma tried to hide his tears, which soon caught the eye of the performers and the public, who then made up a sit song, “Mr. Ma has cried,”. The skit soon became a trend on Chinese social media platform ‘Weibo’.

Toward the end of the ceremony, Mr Ma, co-founder Lucy Peng, and CEO of Alibaba’s technology committee Wang Jian, all wore rock star-style leather jackets and wigs to perform Chinese pop songs

They were joined by co-founder Joe Tsai dressed in Marilyn Monroe style white dress and a blonde wig, while CEO, Mr. Zhang, also clad in rock star garb, then delivered a solo.

Mr. Ma’s exit comes as Alibaba has grown to become Asia’s most valuable listed company, with a market capitalization of $460 billion. It employs over 100,000 people, and has expanded into financial services, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Mr Ma also told attendees that he hoped to see Alibaba shoulder more responsibility to improve society amid the sweeping changes brought about by technologies like big data and 5G.