Jack Ma, the tycoon who founded Alibaba Group, has officially retired from the Chinese multinational conglomerate, marking the end of an era for the firm.
Current chief executive Daniel Zhang is taking over as executive chairman and will be tasked with leading growth at Asia’s most valuable listed firm.
Ma still holds a 6.22 per cent share in Alibaba and will remain on the board of directors until next year’s annual shareholders meeting. Following that, he will remain a member of the 38-person Alibaba Partnership, a group with the power to nominate or appoint board members.
The company’s biggest footprint in the entertainment industry is one of China’s top online cinema ticketing platforms Tao Piaopiao, as well as performance-ticketing platform Damai, and its film production and investment arm, Alibaba Pictures.
Ma, who launched the company – which is valued at an astonishing $480bn – with a group of friends in 1999, is one of China’s richest and most recognisable businessman, with a net worth $38.6bn.
Earlier this year, it was confirmed that Alibaba has also become the ticketing systems and services provider for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics after signing a landmark deal with Games chiefs. It will use its Damai ticketing subsidiary to provide a fully digitally enabled ticketing programme through its agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Beijing 2022 organising committee.