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Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire, focus on philanthropy

Jack Ma's rags to riches story has inspired many around the world. The billionaire now feels it is time for him to actively give back to society at large.

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire, focus on philanthropy
File photo

Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has said he will retire as chief of the company on Monday and will devote his time to philanthropic endeavours.

Ma, who turns 54 on Monday, told New York Times that the decision to retire would be 'the beginning of an era' instead of an end. Known for his rags to riches story, he has said he would now focus on helping those in need and would look at giving back to the society at large. His net worth is estimated by Forbes to be around US $ 36.6 billion.

Ma started his journey with just US $ 60,000 - loaned to him by friends, and started Alibaba in 1999. He would take the company to astronomical heights and make it China's major e-commerce website in the years to come. In previous interviews, he said that it was the first time he touched a computer and saw what internet is all about that he realised the potential of buying and selling goods online. It was a potential that virtually ran US e-commerce website e-Bay out of China.

Since, Alibaba spread wings and is now a multibillion-dollar colossus.

For Ma though, being humble has always come easy. According to Chinese media outlets, he belongs to a family which used to get just US $ 40 each month to take care of its needs.Yet, Ma managed to graduate from Hangzhou Teachers College with a major in English-language education. He would take up the role of being an English teacher before letting it go to chase his internet dreams.