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Alibaba to unveil succession plan on Monday

Jack Ma not leaving yet, spokesman for Chinese e-commerce giant reportedly says

Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma Yun speaks after receiving an honorary degree at the University of Hong Kong on May 18.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI -- Alibaba Group Holding co-founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma Yun will reportedly lay out a succession plan this coming Monday, with a company-owned newspaper denying on Saturday reports that he would retire within days.

The South China Morning Post, the English-language Hong Kong publication acquired by Alibaba in 2016, reported on Saturday evening that the plan will come out on Ma's 54th birthday. It is unknown whether a successor will be named.

The New York Times had reported on Friday that Ma would step down on Monday to pursue philanthropy in education. But the South China Morning Post quoted an Alibaba spokesman as saying Ma remains executive chairman and will provide transition plans over a significant period of time.

The former English teacher has expressed a desire to return to education. By announcing a succession plan, Ma apparently hopes to avoid confusion in management from a sudden change at the top while also showing investors that Alibaba has a strategy for sustained growth.

Ma led the founding of Alibaba in 1999. He has since grown the company into an e-commerce titan with a market capitalization well over $400 billion through such operations as the Taobao shopping website.

Ma enjoys popularity among young people and entrepreneurs as one of the nation's richest men and an embodiment of the "Chinese dream." He has been preparing to hand over management, such as through leaving the post of CEO in 2013.

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