Jack Ma plans to step down from Alibaba on Monday

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma to retire

One of China's richest men, Jack Ma, is to step down as executive chairman of the Alibaba e-commerce empire on Monday, the New York Times reported.

Ma, who boasts a net worth of almost $40 billion(€34 billion), making him China's richest man, said he would use his retirement to focus on his philanthropic work, mainly around education.

Liu was arrested and released without charge in the USA city of Minneapolis last week.

Alibaba didn't immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

Since handing off his CEO title to Daniel Zhang, Ma has spent 40 per cent of the year travelling the globe to preach about the virtues of globalisation and inter-connectedness, the potential of technology to improve lives, and about philanthropy.

FILE PHOTO: Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma gestures as he attends the 11th World Trade Organization's ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 11, 2017. According to Chinese media outlets, he belongs to a family which used to get just U.S. $ 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. But it did not take off until it began the Taobao marketplace in 2003, which merchants used to sell goods directly to consumers. Alipay later became Ant Financial, the financial subsidiary that Ma also controls.

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Considered China's richest person, the e-commerce company's co-founder holds a spot in the world's top twenty billionaires in the world with a reported net worth of $39.9 billion.

The company's value has soared in recent years thanks to a growing portfolio that includes cloud computing, films, electronic payments and retail. One of those is entertainment, through its Alibaba Pictures arm, which owns a stake in Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, and through its hugely popular movie-ticket sales app, Tao Piao Piao. I've prepared a Jack Ma Foundation.

Alibaba reported roughly $40 billion (NZ$61.1 billion) in revenue a year ago. The company's annual revenue totals about 250 billion yuan, or $40 billion. But Ma on Thursday told Bloomberg TV that he was mulling an early retirement similar to Bill Gates' early exit from Microsoft.

Mr Ma told the New York Times that his decision to stand down was not the end of an era but "the beginning of an era" and that he "loved" education.

Ma said he could never be as rich as Gates - but that he could retire earlier than Gates.

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