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Timing of Jack Ma's retirement minimizes risk for Alibaba

Founder's outsize profile poses hidden dangers in China

Jack Ma has previously stated that one should "never, ever do business with government."    © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Jack Ma Yun's announcement on Monday that he will step down as executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding next year and be succeeded by Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang marks a watershed moment for the Chinese technology powerhouse as it shifts to a new generation of leadership.

But it also signals that Ma, one of Asia's most visible and high-profile business leaders, may have chosen the best timing for his exit.

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