China's richest man Jack Ma will retire on Monday

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Alibaba's growth and Ma's wealth track changes in modern China, in which a burgeoning urban middle class has more money to spend while authorities allowed large accumulations of wealth, especially when connected to forward-thinking enterprises.

Ma has been backing away from Alibaba over the past few years, stepping down as chief executive officer in 2013 but remaining very involved in the company's strategic planning, according to the Times. He will focus on his Jack Ma Foundation and dedicate his time to improving education, he told the Times.

Chinese tech billionaire Jack Ma is getting ready to leave his role at Alibaba.

As per a Reuters report, while Ma's retirement marks a milestone in the company's history, analysts believe and industry insiders believe that it is highly unlikely that his involvement in the company will change significantly. His birthday also coincides with a the Chinese holiday of Teacher's Day, which celebrates educators. "This is something I think I can do much better than being CEO of Alibaba".

He started in 1999 as a business-to-business marketplace, backed by $60,000 from 18 co-founders.

Ma oversees a number of charitable projects in education and environmental fields. Under President Xi Jinping, China's internet industry has grown and become more important, prompting the government to tighten its leash.

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At events, he is often met with screaming fans. Previous year he met with US President Donald Trump, who described him as "smart" and "open minded".

Ma's success was evident after Alibaba's Taobao bested eBay in China, forcing the US auction site to largely withdraw from the country in 2006. China's biggest e-commerce firm, it now has more than 66,000 full-time employees, the company's latest annual filing showed.

When the stock market closed on Friday, it was worth $420.8bn (£325bn). Ma will also speak at the company's investor's day in mid September.

Ma is stepping back at a tricky time for Chinese tech firms. Liu Qiangdong, the billionaire founder of online retailer, was arrested on rape charges last week on a business trip to Minneapolis.

He is one of the most colourful of China's growing crop of billionaires, performing a Michael Jackson-inspired dance routine at the company's 18th anniversary celebration past year, and starring in his own kung fu short film. Through his lawyers, he has denied any wrongdoing.