Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba Group Holding Limited, a Chinese multinational conglomerate, has announced that he will no longer serve as the company’s Executive Chairman. Daniel Zhang, who became the company’s chief executive officer three years ago, will be taking up the role. The Chinese billionaire made the announcement on his 54th birthday.
Zhang was hired by Jack Ma from Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited, a Chinese gaming giant in 2007. The Shangai-educated executive’s solid knowledge of finance, has helped him plan and implement mega events such as the annual Singles’ Day shopping Bonanza. Through his efforts, the company stock has risen by 87% and Alibaba now has a market of $420 billion.
Analysts note that Ma’s departure will challenge Alibaba to carry on Ma’s legacy amid rising competition. The company, which was founded in 1999, provides a consumer to consumer, business to consumer, business to business sales service.
Alibaba also provides electronic payment services, shopping search engines and cloud computing services. The company operates different businesses spread across numerous sectors. It was also named one of the world’s most admired companies by Fortune Magazine.