Jack Ma, the founder of AliBaba, announced his resignation from the world’s largest online B2B commerce platform, which he co-founded 20 years ago.
Jack Ma revolutionised online commerce in China, but has decided to focus on philanthropic projects such as education. In 20 years, Jack Ma has become one of China’s richest figures with an estimated fortune of US$41 billion. Daniel Zhang will take his place at AliBaba but Ma will continue to lead the company’s board of directors.
Jack Ma: Goodbye to AliBaba’s rock star
AliBaba,the world’s largest online B2B commerce platform , organised a four-hour celebration in an 80,000-seat stadium, with artists in costumes and a parade of tanks as a leaving gift for Ma.
Jack Ma, who was celebrating his 55th birthday, presented his best performance to more than 60,000 workers waving flashing bracelets connected to the Internet and wearing a wig and wielding a rock star guitar.
AliBaba’s new CEO, Daniel Zhang, joined Jack Ma on stage to perform Brendan Graham’s high-profile song, “You Raise Me Up”.
Jack Ma sang “Goodbye My Lover” with a tear in his eye
The former English teacher, who is the richest man in China with an estimated fortune of US$41 billion, delivered a moving speech to the 60,000-strong crowd. He said goodbye to the company he founded with a group of friends in a small apartment in Hangzhou in 1999.
“After tonight, I will start a new life. I believe the world is a beautiful place; there are so many opportunities and I love excitement, so I will retire sooner,” Ma told customers and employees.
Ma was seen at one point crying as staff performed skits and sang songs, which led the topic “Jack Ma Cried” to follow the evolution of China’s Weibo social media platform.
Jack Ma, who helped build the US$460 billion company, will remain a member of the AliBaba Partnership, a group of 36 members with the right to appoint a majority of the company’s board of directors. The e-commerce giant has grown in all areas, from digital payments to online banking, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
The company also announced that it had adopted six new core values, one of which was the commitment to “respect each individual’s decisions regarding work-life balance”, marking a step forward from Ma‘s recent comments urging technology company employees to work at night and on weekends, which sparked a national debate.
Ma told participants that he hoped AliBaba would take on more responsibility to improve the company in the face of radical changes brought about by technologies such as big data and 5G.
“It’s not easy to be a strong company, but it’s more difficult to be a good company,” he said. “A strong company is determined by its business skills, while a good company is responsible and kind.”
The celebration of Jack Ma’s farewell was a significant event and a lesson in “How to say Goodbye” in such a great company. What do you think about it?