China's richest man and Alibaba Group Holding CEO Jack Ma has announced that one year from today, September 10, 2019, Daniel Zhang will him succeed as chairman of the board of Alibaba Group.
The news follows conflicting reports over the weekend on the timing of his exit.
Ma, who owns roughly 6% of Alibaba's stock and also controls Ant Financial, is stepping back amid more challenging times for Chinese tech companies as sales growth in China's eastern mega-cities shows signs of slowing.
The billionaire will remain as executive chairman of the company for the next 12 months to mentor his successor and ensure a "smooth and successful transition".
Then Ma will finish his run on the Alibaba Group's board of directors after its annual shareholder meeting in 2020.
Founded in 1999 by Chinese teacher-turned-entrepreneur Jack Ma as a platform to connect Chinese manufacturers with the world, Hangzhou-based Alibaba stands among one of the largest companies in the world.
Mr Ma has a current net worth of $36.6bn (£28.3bn), according to Forbes. "I also want to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do".
The company said he will pass on the reins to trusted lieutenant Daniel Zhang.
He took care not to project himself bigger than the CPC leadership though he has emerged as modern China's most revered corporate icon. He is known as a key architect of Alibaba's "Singles Day", the Nov 11 event that has becomes the world's largest online shopping event. "Those who know me know that I do not like to sit idle", he said.
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