Alibaba's Ma steps down as industry faces uncertainty

Alibaba's Jack Ma steps down as industry faces uncertainty

Alibaba's Jack Ma steps down as industry faces uncertainty

Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma bid farewell to the company he co-founded 20 years ago, sporting a rock star wig and guitar at an employee event Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Ma's retirement announcement raised eyebrows at the time, as it's unusual for top Chinese executives to step down at such an early age.

The businessman will also continue mentoring the company's management as he remains a lifetime partner in a corporate governing body called Alibaba Partnership, which has the right to nominate directors to the company's board.

China's growing consumer market is now central to Alibaba's business.

Alibaba's stock price has risen about 10% in the past year, and revenue in the last quarter was up 42% year-on-year to about $16 billion (RMB115 billion).

When it comes to entertainment, Alibaba's biggest footprints lie in Tao Piaopiao, one of China's top online film ticketing platforms; the streaming platform Youku Tudou; performance ticketing platform Damai; and its film production and investment arm, Alibaba Pictures, launched by Ma in 2014. He pokes fun at his own appearance, saying his oversize head and angular features make him look like the alien in director Steven Spielberg's movie "E.T". With his almost $40 billion fortune, Jack Ma is China's richest man.

Daniel Zhang will replace him on the post of executive chairman of Alibaba Group.

Ma faced controversy when it disclosed in 2011 that Alibaba transferred control over Alipay to a company he controlled without immediately informing shareholders including Yahoo Inc. and Japan's Softback.

Costumed performers, some dancing to dubstep music and dressed in traditional Chinese dress, and singers paid tribute to Ma's reputation for dressing up and performing at big events, entering to a parade of floats representing Alibaba divisions such as shopping site Tmall and payment service Ant Financial. Alibaba said the move was necessary to obey Chinese law.

Ma has said that ensures Alibaba focuses on long-term development instead of responding to pressure from financial markets.